“The Coachella Valley Firebirds fell one game short of winning a title. But they won over thousands of locals along the way, including one reporter previously disinterested in sports.
More than 10,000 dejected hockey fans, including many from Palm Springs, filed out of Acrisure Arena on Wednesday night after the Coachella Valley Firebirds lost to the Hershey Bears 3-2 in overtime of Game 7 of the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup championship.
“I actually teared up,” one fan said as she made her way to the parking lot, mirroring the feeling that many leaving the arena and watching at home were experiencing. “I didn’t think I’d get this emotional.”
Though the Firebirds didn’t cap off their historic inaugural season with a championship win, the team effectively introduced the California desert region to the sport of hockey. The Firebirds made diehard fans out of people who had never cared about hockey six months ago…”