AHL Expansion Names: Coachella Valley Replaces Palm Springs?

If a series of trademark filings made earlier this week are to be believed, the American Hockey League expansion team previously referred to as Palm Springs could instead be using “Coachella Valley” as their place name.

Trademarks for the names Coachella Valley Firebirds, Coachella Valley Dragons, Coachella Valley Eagles, and Coachella Valley Falcons were all applied for on August 31, by the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.  That firm had previously worked on trademarks for Oak View Group, owners of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken and the incoming AHL franchise that will be Seattle’s affiliate.

All four nicknames were previously attached to trademark filings with “Palm Springs” as the place name.

The trademark application for Palm Springs Firebirds had initially been rejected by the US Patent & Trademark Office, citing the “Firebirds” name being in use by the Ontario Hockey League’s Flint Firebirds.  That issue was later resolved.  Given that the OVG organization took steps to make sure that “Firebirds” would be available to them, it looked a lot like the team was likely to be the Palm Springs Firebirds.

With the new filings, it would appear that Coachella Valley Firebirds is now the front-runner.

It should be noted that, despite not being rejected by the USPTO, neither Palm Springs Eagles nor Coachella Valley Eagles is an option for the incoming expansion team, as the Colorado Eagles are already in the AHL.

The change of place name is likely related to arena issues for the new team.  Originally, the team was slated to play in a new arena in Palm Springs, with OVG partnering with the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians on the arena.  That partnership later broke down and OVG moved on to a different arena property near Palm Desert.


Update, September 5, 3:50 PM: In addition to the above trademarks, domain registrations also seem to point to Coachella Valley Firebirds as the incoming AHL team’s name.

On September 3, the following domains were registered representing names from the trademark applications on August 31:

coachellavalleyeagles.com
coachellavalleyfalcons.com
coachellavalleydragons.com

These were all registered after the trademark applications would have become public.  Noticeably absent from the list is coachellavalleyfirebirds.com, which was registered on July 13.

All four of the domains were registered privately so ownership information is unavailable.  However, the timing of the registrations could tell us something.

The registrations that came after the trademark applications became public look a lot like the M.O. of a domain squatter; someone who could be monitoring trademarks and then registering related domain names in the hopes of turning around and re-selling the domain(s) to the trademark holder.

The registration of coachellavalleyfirebirds.com, however, came before the trademarks were filed.  While it could still be the work of a squatter making an educated guess, a squatter probably would have protected their investment by going after all of the rumored team names instead of just Firebirds.  The registration of a domain related to a single team name prior to public acknowledgement of that team name seems to imply inside knowledge that the team had already made its choice.

Author: Clark Rasmussen

Clark founded the site that would become DetroitHockey.Net in September of 1996 with no idea what it would lead to. He continues to write for the site and executes the site's design and development.

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