After 22 games in five states and two Canadian provinces over two months, the Coachella Valley Firebirds will play at Acrisure Arena for the first time Sunday evening, facing the Tucson Roadrunners.
A fan fest will be held from 2-6 p.m. on the arena’s plaza and feature a performance by chef-turned-singer Barry Minniefield, carnival games, face painting, balloon artists, street hockey, a visit from Santa Claus and opportunities to take pictures with Fuego, the American Hockey League team’s mascot.
There will also be a Toys for Tots collection, trivia questions from “Firebirds Weekly” host Gino LaMont and Hockey Hall of Famer Grant Fuhr and the opportunity to buy Firebirds merchandise at a discount.
Doors will open at 4:30 p.m. for the 6 p.m. game.
All concessions and merchandise locations inside Acrisure Arena are cashless. With the team billing its games as “phone-free experiences,” Apple Pay, Google Pay or other digital forms of payment will not be accessible. Major debit and credit cards will be the only form of payment accepted.
Small bags meeting the following criteria may be brought into Acrisure Arena:
— Bags must be made of a clear material, not exceeding 14 inches by 14 inches by 6 inches in size with no more than two pockets;
— Small clutches, purses and wallets are permitted provided that they do not exceed 4.5 inches by 6.5 inches with or without a handle or strap;
— Bags required for medical necessity or diaper bags may be allowed based on supervisor approval.
All bags are subject to search upon entry to the facility by security personnel. Any bag that does not meet the above standards or qualify for an exemption will not be allowed into Acrisure Arena.
Fans can purchase parking in advance on ParkWhiz and enter the vehicle’s license plate number, which serves as a parking pass.
The Firebirds are encouraging fans to consider carpooling or utilizing a rideshare service to avoid traffic, save on gas and parking. Acrisure Arena has a dedicated rideshare area on the north side of the building located just outside the main entrance.
The Firebirds are third in the AHL with a .705 points percentage with 14 victories, five losses and three overtime losses for 31 points. Teams receive two points for a victory, and one point for an overtime loss or shootout loss.
The Firebirds are third in the AHL’s 10-team Pacific Division with 31 points. They have played four fewer games than the division-leading Colorado Eagles and two fewer than the second-place Calgary Wranglers.
The Firebirds are 3-1-0-0 against the sixth-place Roadrunners (12-8-4-0), the Arizona Coyotes’ AHL affiliate. The Firebirds, the Seattle Kraken’s AHL affiliate, were 4-3 winners over Tucson Wednesday in Tucson, Arizona, scoring three third-period goals to overcome a two-goal deficit.
The AHL awarded an expansion franchise on Sept. 30, 2019 to the Kraken and Oak View Group, which owns Acrisure Arena, originally scheduled to begin play in the 2021-22 season. Its start of play was delayed because of construction problems associated with the arena in the unincorporated community of Thousand Palms, near Palm Desert.
Because Acrisure Arena was under construction, the Firebirds were forced to begin the season by playing 18 road games and four in the Seattle area before their first home game.
The game can be streamed on the AHL’s streaming service, AHL TV.