Seattle Kraken, Coachella Valley Firebirds fans

Kraken Friday: Return Of Firebirds; NHLer Facing Arrest

Kraken’s Top Affiliate

The defending American Hockey League western conference champion Coachella Valley Firebirds announced their schedule this week along with the rest of the AHL.

The FireBirds fell one goal short of the Calder Cup title this past season, falling in overtime of Game-7 of the final series to the Hershey Bears. As painful as the loss was, the effort solidified a burgeoning fan base.

“The great part, as much as they didn’t win, they ignited a fan base in that valley,” Kraken General Manager Ron Francis said last week. “For the first time, I think Coachella Valley had one team that they could all cheer for and the fan support was outstanding. I got to go down there for a bunch of the games. The outfits, the signs, the dancing, it was loud, it was exciting and it really went a long way in solidifying that brand in that market. All those guys get a lot of credit for what they did this season.”

The Firebirds packed the house for playoff games, 10,000-plus, and will look to carry that momentum into the start of next season. They open at home at Acrisure Arena on October 17th against the Bakersfield Condors.

October features a grand total of six games, half of them on the road. November is balanced as well, five at home and five away. There are no ‘abnormalities’ until February when Coachella Valley hosts seven consecutive games, the first one actually falling on January 31st.

To make up for it, nine of the club’s 12 games in March are away from home.

Because of travel costs and the fact that it’s a bus league in a lot of places for a solid portion of games, the AHL features back-to-back games as a matter of routine. Where the NHL Kraken might have eight back-to-back sets all season, the Firebirds play back-to-back practically every weekend.

There’s usually a Wednesday game dropped in that creates a lot of three-games-in-four nights scenarios. There are only two Monday night games the entire season for the Firebirds, four on Tuesday, and just two Thursday games.

Coachella Valley wraps things up with a home-and-home with the San Diego Gulls on April 20th and 21st.

Not only will local California fans be excited to get season number-two started, the arena, the younger prospects, and the overall scene all sound like good reasons for Seattle Kraken fans to make a little roadie of their own.

Contract Termination

According to, the Scottsdale (Arizona) Police Department confirmed Alex Galchenyuk is facing charges from an arrest on July 9th that includes private property hit and run, disorderly conduct, failure to obey, resisting arrest and threatening.

The forward was waived by the Coyotes on Thursday just 13 days after signing a one-year free agent contract.

“We are aware of the incident involving Alex Galchenyuk and strongly condemn this type of behavior,” Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong stated Friday. “Once the club was made aware of the allegations, we immediately began the process of terminating his standard player’s contract through the proper channels in conjunction with the National Hockey League.”

Galchenyuk had two earlier stints with the Coyotes in 2018-19 and 2021-22.

The 29-year-old former 3rd-overall pick (2012) of the Montreal Canadiens put up 42 points, 16 of them goals, in 42 games with the Colorado Eagles in the AHL last season. He was pointless with the big club Avalanche in eleven games.

Galchenyuk has tallied 354 points in 654 regular-season games for the Canadiens, Coyotes, Pittsburgh Penguins, Minnesota Wild, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs and Avalanche, and 17 points in 38 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

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Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.