For the past several weeks, rumors of a minor league hockey team coming to Palm Springs has been circulating around the Coachella Valley. NBC Palm Springs has learned that the group behind the proposed hockey and music venue include Canadian sports mogul Tim Leiweke, as well as Irving Azoff, Chairman of Madison Square Garden Company.
According to hockey insiders, a minor league hockey team would come to Palm Springs as part of the NHL’s expansion into Seattle. Two factors are still under consideration, one is a minimum season ticket sales requirement. The other, Boise, Idaho wants the team too.
At the NHL awards in Las Vegas, NBC Palm Springs spoke to several NHL Executives, many of whom confirm the rumor of a hockey venue coming to Palm Springs.
What we’ve also learned is that the venue in Palm Springs would be for hockey and concerts. Concert promoters Live Nation are also said to be involved in the project. In a conversation Thursday afternoon, one of the principles said it is, “a very good rumor” that concert promoters Live Nation is attached to the proposal.
At last night’s event, hockey insiders we spoke to say a Palm Springs hockey and music venue is a perfect fit.
“You know, obviously Palm Springs is a great area right? and there’s a lot of great things you could do there, it wouldn’t just be a hockey rink, it would be a place to do events there and concerts there, too. I know that people are excited about it I know it is something that’s been talked in the past, it’s something that’s never gotten done but got reason to believe it will get done. The one thing about Tim Leiweke he gets things done,” says NHL insider Elliotte Friedman.
Former NHL All-Star Mark Messier says, “anytime someone like Irving puts his name behind something and has the initiative to do something of that magnitude, chances are it’s going to be successful. So my guess is if he wants a team in Palm Springs, he’ll get a team in Palm Springs.”
What is unknown at this time is exactly where the 12,000 seat arena would be located. The City of Palm Springs says they have not been approached by the NHL or Live Nation, leaving tribal land as the only other viable option.
Tim Leiweke has confirmed that he used the study done by the SoCal Coyotes on the future of sports events and tourism in the Coachella Valley as proof of the viability of a multi-purpose venue here in the Desert.
We will of course keep you updated as this story develops.