The American Hockey League will be expanding alongside the NHL for the 2021-22 season and we may have our first indication of the new team’s name: The Palm Springs Firebirds.
A trademark was filed last week for that name on behalf of Oak View Group, the company that will own both the AHL franchise and their currently-unnamed NHL affiliate in Seattle.
Oak View Group had previously announced that they would be building a new arena in Palm Springs, CA, to house their AHL team.
The trademark filing was made by a lawyer with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, which was the same firm that registered domains for possible Seattle team names on behalf of Oak View Group back in January of 2018. “Firebirds” was one of thirteen nicknames seemingly under consideration at that time, so there is an additional connection between this filing and that list.
It’s worth noting that during the NHL’s previous expansion process, the Las Vegas organization registered trademarks on several names, so this filing may be only the first of many.
Also of note is the fact that the Ontario Hockey League currently fields the Flint Firebirds.
Finally, the timing of this filing is somewhat interesting as no marks for the Seattle NHL team have been filed. Prioritizing the branding of the AHL team over the NHL team would be somewhat surprising, though it could simply be a matter of the AHL team name being an easier choice.
That said, the fact that this trademark was filed for at all shows that that Palm Spring Firebirds is a strong enough contender for the team’s name that Oak View Group felt they needed to protect it.