COACHELLA VALLEY FIREBIRDS
Coachella Valley Is Getting Its First Professional Sports Team for the ‘22-’23 Season
The American Hockey League (AHL) has awarded its 32nd Franchise to the Coachella Valley, which will take the ice in late 2022 at the Coachella Valley Arena. This new AHL Hockey franchise will be the official affiliate of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken.
The Kraken’s tentacles run deep with the AHL as nearly all players selected in the NHL Expansion Draft were graduates of the American Hockey League. Even more impressive is that many of the players have AHL championship experience being on Calder Cup championship teams and numerous players have been selected as AHL All-Stars during their time in the AHL.
While the Coachella Valley Arena is in construction the Kraken will provide players to the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers for this current 2021-22 season.
NHL: Seattle Kraken
The Coachella Valley team is affiliated with the NHL’s newest franchise, the Seattle Kraken, for the 2021-22 season. The affiliation is expected to last one season while construction is completed on an arena that will host the Kraken’s AHL expansion franchise in Palm Desert, California. In the meantime, the Checkers will receive the Kraken’s first group of AHL-eligible prospects under a joint affiliation with the Panthers.
AHL: Charlotte Checkers
Earlier this year the Kraken and Florida Panthers announced they entered into a joint agreement to place their prospects in Charlotte for the 2021-22 season. As part of the agreement the Checkers will simultaneously host players from the Kraken and Panthers organizations in addition to having the opportunity to provide an assistant coach.
The Seattle agreement will last one season while the Teams facilities are being completed in Coachella Valley, CA.
The Coachella Valley Firebirds are the 32nd Franchise to enter the American Hockey League (AHL) with a goal of developing players and personnel for the National Hockey League (NHL). The Firebirds strive to accomplish this by passionately building an organization from the ground up focusing on talent, entertainment, service and community.
In order to be the best we strive to have the best both on and off the ice. We are holding our personnel to the highest moral standards focusing on honesty, integrity and teamwork.
The Firebirds will be the first Professional Sports team in Coachella Valley in its first ever 10,000+ seat facility the region has seen. This carries the opportunity to expand Oak View Group’s entertainment expertise from around the world into Coachella Valley and bring a level of entertainment not previously experienced for the nine surrounding cities. With the ultimate goal of bringing an AHL Calder Cup Championship to the region.
Our team will strive to interact with the fans and patrons in a way that upholds the following values:
Our team’s commitment both on and off the ice to the community is a founding pillar. We will be committed to having a positive environmental impact, supporting the underserved areas and growing the exposure of the game of hockey to the community. The team is committed to supporting existing programs in communities of Coachella Valley and to expanding the game of hockey to underserved areas in this region.
Steve FraserPresident firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Fraser is an experienced Sports Leader with over a decade of experience in building exceptional Sales and Operations Teams. Steve joined the Coachella Valley Firebirds in September of 2021 where his responsibilities focus on business and sales operations for the Seattle Kraken’s AHL affiliate, the Firebirds, working with Troy Bodie on AHL hockey operations and John Bolton on Coachella Valley Arena projects.
Fraser began his career in professional sports with the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays. Over four seasons he worked his way up to Vice President with the Stingrays and gained extensive experience in the areas of Sales, Marketing, Public Relations, Business Development, Game Operations, and Corporate Partnerships.
In 2015, Fraser moved to California to assist in transitioning the Kings top affiliation to Ontario when the American Hockey League’s Pacific Division was created focusing on Finance and Business Operations. In 2018 he was promoted to Vice President, Business Operations to oversee all departments for the team. Over 5 seasons the team grew their Season Ticket Memberships and received numerous awards and accolades from the AHL. He served on a special Finance Committee with the AHL to bring more accurate reporting across teams and in 2020 the Reign hosted the AHL All-Star classic, which brought 4.165 Million in economic impact to Ontario, CA and the surrounding communities.
The native of South Bend, IN has his B.S., J.D., and LL.M. Fraser graduated from Indiana University in Bloomington with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Tourism Management. He earned his J.D. from the Charleston School of Law in Charleston, SC and his LL.M. in taxation from the University of Florida in Gainesville.
Fraser and his wife, Michelle, along with their two sons, Everest and Noah, are proud to call Coachella Valley home.
Fun Fact: He is an accomplished mountaineer summiting the top peaks in the United States and a pilot.
Troy BodieDirector, Hockey Operations email@example.com
Troy joins the Coachella Valley Firebirds in June of 2021. He previously was drafted 9th round to the Edmonton Oilers and played 9 years of professional hockey including 159 NHL games with Anaheim, Carolina and Toronto. Started his post-playing career as a professional scout with the Maple Leafs including 3 years as the Director of Pro Scouting.
Fun Fact – Memorial Cup Champion as a player for the Kelowna Rockets in the Western Hockey League.
Shannon MillerVP of Branding and Community Relations firstname.lastname@example.org
Shannon joins the Coachella Valley Firebirds as Vice President of Branding and Community Relations in October 2021. She previously held the role of head coach of Team Canada at the Olympic Games. Coach Miller was recruited by the University of Minnesota Duluth to build a world-class NCAA Division I Women’s Ice Hockey program. Shannon and her teams came out of the gate winning, setting NCAA records by winning five NCAA Championships and with a record of 383-144-50. During her 15 years coaching in the NCAA, Shannon produced 28 Olympians from several different countries, having a formidable impact on the growth and development of the women’s game globally. Miller has also mentored coaches from Canada, USA, Sweden, Finland and Russia, greatly impacting the game at the local, national and international level.
In March of 2018, Shannon won a landmark federal case in the state of Minnesota for sex discrimination and retaliation of Title IX complaints. This is a historical win for women all over the world and especially in athletics.
Fun Facts: Shannon is a World-renowned hockey coach honored at the White House by the President of the United States five times, a former Olympic Head Coach, three-time World Champion and five-time NCAA Champion and a United Nations Speaker on Title IX and Gender Equity.
Rich FranklinSr. Director, Corporate Partnerships email@example.com
Rich Franklin is a native of Seattle and joined the Firebirds in October of 2021. From 2011-21 Rich was Vice President of Corporate Partnerships for the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League where he not only sold team sponsorships but also drove groups of fans on the “Fanboni” on-ice during intermissions. His professional experience includes 22 years in radio sales and management in Seattle and Portland, and for 12 years he and his wife owned and operated a beer and wine shop in Vancouver, Washington. A graduate of the University of Washington, Rich’s favorite teams are the Seattle Kraken and Seattle Seahawks and he does on-track flagging and communications for IndyCar and SCCA racing events.
Fun Facts: Rich was once left in charge of the Stanley Cup (yes, THE Stanley Cup) during a public appearance while the two Hockey Hall of Fame staffers who accompany the Cup went shopping.
Matt joined Oak View Group in December of 2019 as Director of Premium & Ticket Sales across multiple Oak View Properties including the Coachella Valley Arena and Coachella Valley Firebirds. He currently resides in Austin, TX where he is actively on-sale with the new, state of the art, Moody Center. Prior to joining OVG, I worked for Olympia Entertainment (Detroit Red Wings & Tigers) in Detroit, MI holding several different positions within their ticket sales and service departments including the most recent position of Director of Ticket Sales. He was fortunate enough to be a part of the teams that were responsible for opening Little Caesars Arena as well as selling out the 2014 NHL Winter Classic which still holds the NHL record for attendance of over 104,000 people. He is originally from Rochester Hills, MI and graduated from Central Michigan University in 2010.
Fun Fact: I am an avid golfer and have (1) hole-in-one…it came on a par 4!
A Texas native from San Antonio, Frank joined the Coachella Valley Firebirds and Arena during the summer of 2021 to lead our sales and retention efforts. Frank brings with him 13 years of experience from Spurs Sports & Entertainment where he oversaw Franchise Sales and Business Operations. During his time at SS&E he held multiple leadership roles including Inside Sales Manager, Sr. Manager of Franchise Sales & Retention and Director of Franchise Business Operations. His favorite sports memory is having the opportunity to participate in the 2014 NBA Championship River Parade with the San Antonio Spurs players and coaching staff. Frank graduated from Texas A&M University in 2008 and enjoys golf, BBQing and spending time with his three legged dog, Cleveland. His favorite sports teams include the Cleveland Indians and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
While interning at Tristar Sports Memorabilia his senior year at Texas A&M, Frank had the opportunity to work with and meet multiple HOF athletes and coaches including Bart Starr, Joe Namath, Lawrence Taylor, Gale Sayers, Jerry Rice and Tony La Russa.
Samantha, or Sam as many know her by, joined the the Coachella Valley Firebirds in July 2021. She comes to us from Channel Q, 103.1 aka Audacy Inc., formerly Entercom and worked for KGAY 106.5 in Palm Springs, California. Prior to working in radio, she worked for KESQ News Channel 3 in Thousand Palms, California. Sam also worked as a Legal Forensics Expert for over 23 years helping many law firms in California with collecting and processing their data and scanning of their docs. Sam proudly sits on The Thousand Palms Community Council and Board for The Thousand Palms Chamber of Commerce.
Fun Fact: Sam lives her best life by being active: quad riding, horseback riding, going to any sporting event, floating down the river, doing anything outside and watching scary movies with my little cousins.
Mason is originally from Houston, TX, and graduated from Schreiner University (Kerrville, TX) in the Spring of 2018. Mason spent 3 years with Spurs Sports & Entertainment as a San Antonio Rampage (AHL) Account Executive of Ticket Sales & Service where he achieved being the 2019 -2020 American Hockey League Rookie of the year runner up in total Season Ticket Sales, the Top overall revenue producer San Antonio Rampage 2019 – 2021 and also the Top 10 overall total revenue producer in the American Hockey League 2019-2020 season.
Fun Fact: He is a National Champion Skeet & Trap Shooter
Matthew AbramsAccount Executive, Ticket Sales firstname.lastname@example.org
Matthew Abrams joined the Coachella Valley Firebirds and the Arena in September of 2021. His impressive experience in sales and marketing is rooted in two globally recognized companies. In 2018, he helped successfully launch a marketing campaign for Best Selling Author and Shark on ABC’s Shark Tank, Robert Herjavec, at Herjavec Group. His next pursuit was with Cloudkitchens as an Account Executive under the leadership of Travis Kalanick, the ex-Uber CEO and ride sharing titan. Matthew enjoys spending time with his dog Kobe, hiking, playing fantasy sports and watching the Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Wildcats. Matthew attended the University of Arizona earning his B.S. in Communications and Sports Management.
Fun Fact: He plays competitive Pickleball.
Zack VaccaAccount Executive, Ticket Sales email@example.com
Vacca was born and raised in Aurora, IL. Growing up he played football from 9 years old to 18. Vacca first became really interested in hockey while growing up in the Chicagoland area watching the Blackhawks win their three Stanley Cups. He attended the University of Iowa and graduated with a Sport and Recreation Management degree in 2019. During his time at the University of Iowa, he interned for the Farmers Insurance Open, John Deere Classic, and Iowa Wild. Following college, worked for two other AHL teams, the San Antonio Rampage and Iowa Wild. Vacca’s favorite part about working in the AHL is connecting with fans in an awesome environment.
I collect vinyl records and listen to them in my free time. I own around 50 records, but my favorite is Tha Carter ll. I also have two pet gecko’s that have lived in four different states with me. My favorite sports teams are the Chicago Bulls, Chicago White Sox, Green Bay Packers, and Seattle Kraken.