Even More Possible Palm Springs AHL Names: Sun, Dragons, Falcons

For the third time in the last week, possible names for the potential Palm Springs American Hockey League franchise have been revealed.  This time they are the Palm Springs Sun, Palm Springs Dragons, and Palm Springs Falcons.

Like the Palm Springs Eagles and Palm Springs Hawks yesterday and the Palm Springs Firebirds last Wednesday, these new names come via trademark applications filed on behalf of Oak View Group.

OVG will own the new AHL team as well as their still-nameless National Hockey League affiliate in Seattle.  Both teams are expected to begin play in the 2021-22 season.

This latest batch of trademarks was filed on August 15.  There is typically a delay between when a trademark is applied for and when that application is made public.

In addition to the trademark applications, the domain palmspringsfalcons.com was registered privately on Monday.  It appears that no Sun- or Dragons-related domains were registered.

The following is a timeline of Palm Springs AHL-related events and announcements thus far:

February 5, 2019
OVG advisor Dave Tippet announces that Boise, ID, and Palm Springs, CA, are being looked at as potential AHL affiliates for Seattle.

April 1, 2019
palmspringsfirebirds.com registered privately via GoDaddy, the same registrar as was used for Seattle-related domains in 2018.

June 26, 2019
OVG and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians announce that they will partner on a new arena in Palm Springs, CA, to house Seattle’s AHL affiliate.

August 9, 2019
OVG lawyers file for a trademark on the name “Palm Springs Firebirds.”

August 14, 2019
DetroitHockey.Net breaks the story of the Firebirds trademark application.

Kate Anderson, Director of Public Relations for the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, tells KESQ that trademark applications for other names can be expected in the near future.

OVG files trademark applications for Palm Springs Eagles and Palm Springs Hawks

August 15, 2019
OVG files trademark applications for Palm Springs Sun, Palm Springs Dragons, and Palm Springs Falcons.

August 17, 2019
palmspringseagles.com and palmspringshawks.com are registered privately via Dynadot.

August 19, 2019
palmspringsfalcons.com is registered privately via Dynadot.

There are two curious things about that timeline.

One is the gap between trademark applications.  This can be explained in several ways – either OVG is filing for trademarks as they come up with names, or the trademark application for Firebirds becoming public inspired the additional trademark applications.  A third, less-likely, option would be that all of the potential names were known on August 9 and OVG’s lawyers chose not to file applications for them all at once.

The second is that, as of August 17, when the Eagles- and Hawks-related domains were acquired, the Falcons trademark was already applied for as well.  As such, why wait two more days to purchase a Falcons-related domain?

With those two items in mind, it’s safe to assume that this newest batch of names could be further misdirection by OVG.  Someone had the Firebirds-related domain in April and OVG didn’t start applying for trademarks on other names until after the Firebirds trademark became public.

Of course, it’s also safe to assume that OVG is simply filing for trademarks and domains as they go, and truly no decision has been made yet.  With the team not slated to take the ice until 2021, they have plenty of time to change course.

More AHL Palm Springs Trademarks Filed: Eagles, Hawks

After our initial report that Oak View Group had filed for a trademark on “Palm Springs Firebirds” for use with their pending American Hockey League Franchise, two more applications for trademarks have been filed: Eagles and Hawks.

In addition to the trademarks – filed on August 14 by the same lawyer who handled the Firebirds trademark – domains related Palm Springs Eagles and Palm Springs Hawks were registered on Saturday.  The domains were registered privately so it’s possible that they were not registered by OVG.

Seemingly no domains were registered for the Palm Springs Firebirds name.

In response to the Firebirds trademark application, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians – OVG’s partner in building a new arena in Palm Springs – had stated that more trademark applications would be forthcoming.

Like Firebirds, Eagles is one of the names that was under consideration for Oak View Group’s Seattle NHL franchise, which has yet to be named.  Also like Firebirds, Eagles is a name in use in the Canadian Hockey League.  While Firebirds is used by the OHL’s Flint team, Eagles is the new name of the QMJHL’s former Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.

Additionally, the AHL’s newest franchise is the Colorado Eagles, so it’s safe to say that the Palm Springs Eagles won’t see the light of day.

The Hawks name was last used in the AHL by the Moncton Hawks, who folded in 1994.  It is also a nickname of the Chicago Blackhawks.  Interestingly, three Hawks-related named were considered for the NHL expansion franchise that became the Vegas Golden Knights.

With these points in mind, it’s possible that the Eagles and Hawks trademark applications are intended to be misdirection.  If, for example, Firebirds had already been chosen as the team name, adding Eagles and Hawks to the rumor mill would allow for a bird-themed logo to be developed without confirming which name had been chosen.

It’s also worth noting that the Eagles and Hawks trademark applications and domain registrations happened after our initial report on the Firebirds trademark, which could be a coincidence or could be cause for further skepticism regarding these new options.

AHL Expansion: Palm Springs Firebirds?

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.

NHL to Portland? Domain Registrations Hint at It

There are a handful of cities that often pop up in rumors regarding NHL relocation or expansion.

Quebec is one, with their recent expansion bid partially hindered by the NHL’s geographic imbalance.  Seattle is going through the expansion process right now and is expected to be awarded the league’s 32nd franchise.  Houston, with a new owner for the NBA’s Rockets who is receptive to an additional tenant at Toyota Center, has jumped into the discussion of late.

And then there’s Portland, Oregon.

Portland, home of the Western Hockey League’s Winterhawks, has sniffed at the NHL twice in recent memory.

In the late 1990s, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen – owner of the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers -, backed out of an expansion bid in the round that led to new NHL teams in Nashville, Atlanta, Columbus, and Minnesota.

Just a few years ago, the Arizona Coyotes were rumored to be eyeing the Allen-controlled Moda Center as a landing spot as their (still ongoing) arena issues in Glendale seemed to be coming to a head.

Through spokespeople, Allen has stated that he has no interest in pursuing an expansion franchise for Portland.  However, if one became available for relocation, he would have interest.  Additionally, Winterhawks owner Bill Gallacher has indicated interest in NHL ownership.

Which brings us to a batch of ten internet domain names registered on Thursday by the Portland Winterhawks.

Four of them seem relatively benign.  You could make the case that hockeytownpdx.com, portlandhockeytown.com, playhockeyoregon.com, playhockeyportland.com could all be used in relation to the Winterhawks or other community initiatives (though the Detroit Red Wings might have something to say about a couple of those).

A fifth – hockeytoportland.com – would look innocent coming from anyone other than the Winterhawks, as they’ve already brought hockey to Portland.

The final five, however, explicitly state what kind of hockey would be coming to the Rose City:


That’s five domains making reference to the National Hockey League coming to Portland, all registered by the Portland Winterhawks.

This is hardly confirmation of something coming.  As the Winterhawks do not control Moda Center, this would look a lot more convincing if the domains had been registered by someone affiliated with Paul Allen’s group.

That said, the Coyotes’ arena issues are still unresolved, the Calgary Flames have threatened to move without a new arena, Allen is interested in a relocated NHL team, and now we have domain registrations tied to Portland’s existing team – whose owner is from Calgary and who is already a tenant at Allen’s arena.

It could be nothing.  Or it could be a sign of the NHL’s next franchise move.

Vegas Team Name Speculation: Baseball Edition

Note: This is a non-hockey post but ties into the work I did looking into possible names for the team that became the Vegas Golden Knights and the NHL’s probable future Seattle franchise, so I’m publishing it here anyway.

The Las Vegas 51s of Minor League Baseball’s Pacific Coast League are adopting a new name next season to coincide with their move into a new stadium.

I hadn’t been paying much attention to this as I’m not much of a baseball fan, especially not of minor league teams on the other side of the country and not affiliated with any of my local teams.  The tools that I developed while attempting to determine the name of the eventual Vegas Golden Knights and Seattle’s seemingly-inevitable expansion team are still running, still focused on Las Vegas, and hit on something interesting today.

Yesterday, June 6, a lawyer with The Howard Hughes Corporation – owners of the 51s and their new ballpark in Summerlin, NV –  registered a total of sixteen domains related to the Las Vegas Aviators.

Additionally, a related Twitter handle – @lvaviators – shows as having been registered in June of 2018.  That account has yet to Tweet or update their profile but has a name of “Las Vegas Aviators.”  Ownership of the handle cannot be confirmed.

If this is indeed the team’s future identity, the name Aviators would tie in to Howard Hughes himself and the pilots at nearby Nellis Air Force Base.

As far as I can tell, The Howard Hughes Corporation has not registered any other baseball-related domains.

The full list of Aviators-related domains is as follows:


Update, 6/10 1:30 PM: It would appear that there is a Facebook account for this new team name, too, as @TheLasVegasAviators is classified as a “Sports Team.”  There’s also an Instagram user with the name “lasvegasaviators.” Of course, this could be someone not affiliated with the team.

Update, 6/11 2:00 PM: After SportsLogos.Net picked up our story, I was inspired to give the USPTO database another check.  It turns out that a ton of trademarks for Las Vegas Aviators were registered on June 6, the same day as the domains were acquired.  The trademark database usually takes a few days to update, so it’s not a surprise that we didn’t see this sooner.

A list of Las Vegas Aviators-related trademarks filed on June 6.

Possible Seattle NHL Team Names: Evergreens? Kraken?

Seattle doesn’t even have a National Hockey League team yet – they were invited to apply for an expansion franchise on December 7 – but that hasn’t stopped speculation on what the league’s 32nd team might be named.

As I did before the Vegas Golden Knights’ name was announced, I’ve been keeping an eye on domain registrations.  Most of the names that have come up over the last several weeks have been purchased by people who are known domain speculators, meaning they don’t tell us much about the direction any future ownership group might be heading.  Yesterday, however, an interesting batch of domains were registered.

By my count, 38 domains representing 13 different possible names were registered under the name of Christina Song.  Ms. Song, according to her LinkedIn profile, is General Counsel at Oak View Group, who won the bid to redevelop Seattle’s Key Arena on December 4.  The domains were registered via an email address for a lawyer at Gibson Dunn.  That firm assisted Oak View Group in the Key Arena bid process.

Does this mean that one of the 13 names is certain to take the ice for the NHL’s 2020-21 season?  No.  The franchise hasn’t even been applied for yet.  The ownership group hasn’t even been formed (though names that might be involved have been tossed around).  There is the distinct possibility that this is nothing.

That said, someone so close to the process applying for so many related domains is worth noting.  As such, here are the 13 possibilities:

Seattle Cougars
Seattle Eagles
Seattle Emeralds
Seattle Evergreens
Seattle Firebirds
Seattle Kraken
Seattle Rainiers
Seattle Renegades
Seattle Sea Lions
Seattle Seals
Seattle Sockeyes
Seattle Totems
Seattle Whales

It’s an interesting list with a lot of nicknames we’ve seen before.

The Seattle Totems were a WHL and CHL team that expected to jump to the NHL in 1976 but failed due to ownership issues.  The Seattle Rainiers, meanwhile, were a minor league baseball team that ceased operations to make room for the Seattle Mariners.

Seals was previously used for the NHL’s failed Oakland franchise, while Eagles was the name the original Ottawa Senators went by when they relocated to St. Louis for their final season.  Cougars was the original name of the Detroit Red Wings franchise, chosen in honor of the Victoria Cougars, from whom much of their roster was purchased.

Additionally, Firebirds is currently used by the OHL’s Flint team.  Last year we saw the Vegas organization claim that the OHL’s London Knights blocked them from being the “Las Vegas Knights” (a name that they later conceded was never really an option), so the recent history of a potential NHL team using an OHL name is messy.

All of that said, registering this block of domains would cost about $400, so it’s not exactly breaking the bank for a group that’s investing $600 million renovating an arena.  They could do this just to keep their options open.  It is curious, though.

Update, 4:15 PM: There’s been an interesting twist in this story, as sometime after I checked the Whois records – which show domain ownership, among other things – for the 38 domains, they were all switched to proxy registrations, removing the true registrant from the record.

For the record, both of my rounds of Whois checks (this morning around 8:30 AM  and this afternoon) were through the ICANN website.  All of the domains show as having been registered yesterday for two years.

The following is the full list of 38 domains:


Update, 1/20/2018 9:10 AM: Has a new contender emerged?  It’s an extremely tenuous connection so take it with a grain of salt, but on Friday domains related to the name “Seattle Sasquatch” were registered.

The domains were registered privately through GoDaddy, as all of Thursday’s domains now are.  They were registered for two years, like the original batch of domains.  They also fit the naming convention of the original batch, seattlesasquatchhockey.com and seattle-sasquatch.com.

This could very easily be a domain speculator following the format we published yesterday, so it’s probably nothing.  It’s just similar enough to the original set, though, that I thought it was worth a mention.

In all likelihood, any future domain registrations from this organization will be private, so we won’t be able to definitively tell anything from them.  We’ll keep looking, though.