The Coachella Valley Firebirds (@Firebirds), proud 32nd AHL franchise and affiliate of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken (@SeattleKraken), revealed the team mascot, Fuego, as the newest member of the Coachella Valley community. The team also kicked off three new community programs and pillar initiatives as they prepare for the inaugural season which will begin this October with a series of games played on the road.

A Firebird Emerges

The desert has long been considered a foreboding ground, a place where only those with adventurous spirits thrive amid a sublime landscape. A place where passion and vision are required to see beyond vast tracts of sand and looming mountains to reveal a hidden oasis. This magical oasis is where Fuego was born. Fuego is a mystical union of the spirits of all those who came before him, embodying the power and strength of the Coachella Valley. He was born of fire and intense heat, with a powerful spirit destined to unite cities, communities, and people from all walks of life. His purpose is to serve all who rally under his mighty wings, a loyal ambassador for those who call the Coachella Valley home as well as to those who call him friend.

Fuego set out to explore the landscape of his desert oasis armed with resolve, endurance, speed, curiosity, and a deep resilience to learn more about the land from which he emerged. As he explored the nine cities that made up the Coachella Valley, he learned that each city had its own distinctive landmarks and personality. While each city was independent, he saw how the communities worked together as one, recognizing that they are indeed stronger together, acting as team. He realized those who call the Valley home personify incredible power and a fiery spirit. A spirit he wanted to share with the world.

Fuego demonstrates a duality of spirit, both beautiful and dangerous. He is an ambassador eager to welcome travelers seeking adventure, and always ready to share the beauty of the desert and its people. However, when challenged, he will protect his home and people with fierce and fiery strength. Challengers beware, for the mountain hills and desert winds do not simply whisper warnings, they howl just before the Firebird strikes.

Fuego will watch over the Valley from the largest nest in the area, Acrisure Arena, a symbol of community designed for the people of the Coachella Valley as a gathering place ready to welcome visitors from around the country and across the world. Here Fuego will share many of his favorite things from sports and community activities to music and other extraordinary events. This will be a place where people come together to share experiences, make new friends, gather in community to celebrate and cheer.

One Valley. One Team. Rising Together.

“We are thrilled to be able to share and grow the legend of Fuego, Coachella Valley’s newest ambassador,” said Steve Fraser, president of Acrisure Arena and the Coachella Valley Firebirds. “He is more than a representative of our new hockey team, a role which we know he will embrace and carry out with dignity and strength. In addition, Fuego is purpose driven working to establish long-term programs on behalf of the Firebirds organization, Acrisure Arena and in conjunction with many of our community partners, Fuego will actively promote health, recreation, and education programs for the Coachella Valley.”

The Firebirds and Acrisure Arena have a commitment to excellence, which extends beyond the team’s on-ice efforts and events at the arena. The organization is dedicated to building programs with impact to improve the lives of children and adults across the Coachella Valley.

“Fuego will be a true ambassador for our organization and for the community,” Firebirds vice president of branding and community relations Shannon Miller stated. “It is important for our organization to be actively involved in the community, especially with the younger population. This is more than just bringing hockey to the desert; it is about collaborating on core community pillar programs with partners that allows us to provide a foundation of values that kids can tap into throughout their life.”

Community Pillar Programs

Health and Wellness

The Firebirds and Acrisure Arena are committed to educating fans of all ages about health and wellness. The inaugural season will focus on two core programs that advocate for mental and physical health: Extinguish Bullying: Fuego’s Anti-Bullying Operation and FIND Food Bank partnership.                     

Extinguish Bullying: Fuego’s Anti-Bullying Operation is a school-based program that introduces students in grades K-5 to “Fuego’s Four Helpful Tips” for dealing with bullying:

  • Talk to a trusted adult
  • Don’t bully back
  • Support the bully target
  • Stick with your buddies

The program will launch this fall at various C.V.U.S.D. and D.S.U.S.D. elementary schools. 

Physical health begins with the food we eat so it is necessary to provide adequate nutrition to fuel our bodies. FIND Food Bank is a healthy food bank that delivers fresh and non-perishable food to a vast network of community agency partners which is provided directly to people in need within the Coachella Valley. For more information or to get involved, visit www.findfoodbank.org.

Recreation

The Firebirds will continue to bring Street Hockey to kids across the Coachella Valley area this fall. Building upon the success of last spring’s inaugural season of Street Hockey, which was held in conjunction with community partners including ASES, YMCA, Desert Recreation District, Boys & Girls Club and Big Brother Big Sisters of the Desert. The program put more than 6,000 kids through the basics of hockey while teaching the fundamentals of the sport, discipline, and leadership. Firebirds Street Hockey will continue with an expanded footprint this fall to advocate for health and wellness for children through sportsmanship, teamwork, and competition. Starting this August, all three Unified School Districts will implement street hockey in PE classes. Programs will be managed by each school district directly with training from Firebirds Street Hockey instructors. Additionally, a Firebirds Comprehensive Street Hockey Guide will be provided.  The guide offers a complete series of core skills and drills, for players with different skill levels from beginners to elite. 

Information is available at local schools and through partner after school programs. For more information, visit www.cvfirebirds.com/community.

Education

The Coachella Valley Firebirds and Acrisure Arena are igniting the “Stick to Reading” program for the 2022-2023 Academic Year. The reading program will inaugurate with over 22,000 K-5 participants from 14 Coachella Valley Unified Elementary Schools and 20 Desert

Sands Unified Elementary Schools. The program is strategically designed to enhance reading skills, writing skills, vocabulary, comprehension, and creativity. The primary objectives of this program are to promote education and help local school districts improve California State Assessment scores. Every student will have an opportunity to win a prize based on effort, improvement, and performance on their iReady Diagnostic Assessment results. The assessment is administered three times a year and is aligned with California Smarter Balanced Assessments.  Students will have the opportunity to earn rewards including bookmarks, stickers, bracelets, a pizza party with Fuego and other blazing hot prizes. 

The puck will drop for the Firebirds’ inaugural season on Sunday, October 16, 2022, in Calgary against the Calgary Wranglers. The Firebirds home opening game will take place at Acrisure Arena, the newest world-class concert and sports venue designed specifically for the Coachella Valley, on Sunday, December 18, 2022, against the Tucson Roadrunners. Puck drop is scheduled for 6pm PT.

Season tickets for the 2022-2023 season are now on sale. For more information and to purchase season tickets for the inaugural season, please visit www.cvfirebids.com or call 760-835-8778. View the team’s full schedule at www.cvfirebirds.com/schedule.