Hershey Bears To Face Coachella Valley Firebirds In 2023 Calder Cup Finals

The Hershey Bears will face the Coachella Valley Firebirds in the 2023 Calder Cup Finals. The Firebirds punched their ticket to the finals Monday night with a 4-3 victory over the Milwaukee Admirals, taking their best-of-seven Western Conference Finals series, four games to two. They become the first California team in AHL history to make it to the Calder Cup Finals.

Game 1 of the series will be Thursday at Acrisure Arena in Thousand Palms, California. The series will be a 2-3-2 format with the Firebirds having home-ice advantage.

The Firebirds, the AHL affiliate of the Seattle Kraken, are in their inaugural season. As a result, the AHL’s newest franchise now faces the league’s oldest franchise in the Finals.

The Firebirds are coached by former Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma. Jessica Campbell, the first full-time female coach in the AHL, is an assistant to Bylsma.

The Firebirds finished the 2022-23 regular season with the AHL’s second-best record at 48-17-5-2 and are 12-7 in 19 postseason games.

Keep an eye out for our full series preview due out later today.

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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21 Responses to Hershey Bears To Face Coachella Valley Firebirds In 2023 Calder Cup Finals

  1. Anonymous says:

    Go Bears!

  2. Prevent Defense says:

    Joey Daccord in goal for CVF is a formidable force in net. Played 19 games in NHL with OTT and SEA, and has great stats in AHL.

    If Hershey Bears were searching for a worthy opponent, they have one now

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Skimming their roster, phenom Shane Wright and Alexander True also stand out. Former Bears d-man Eddie Whittchow also a Firebird.

      • Anonymous says:

        And he’ll bring some snarl that the Bears haven’t seen a lot of so far.

        • Anonymous says:

          I wonder how long before McIlrath and Whittchow drop the mitts?

        • Jon Sorensen says:

          Good point, in thinking back, they really have been the more physical team. It’s going to be interesting to see how physical Coachella really is, and if that,poses a challenge for the Bears.

          • GRin430 says:

            Coachella is bigger than Hershey, particularly at forward. That doesn’t necessarily mean more physical. E.g., Mantha and Protas are big… but not physical.

            It’s really hard to know how the teams compare since they have never played each other, and there are so few east-west crossover games. But as others have said, the important thing is that, win or lose, the Caps’ prospects are playing meaningful games in June.

      • Jon Sorensen says:

        In doing research for the series, it sounds like Shane Wright is not getting a lot of ice time.

  3. novafyre says:

    Win or lose, going this far into the playoffs is great for the Bears staff and players. It is great experience and the lessons each one learns should help them in their futures. You don’t get these lessons in practice, preseason, or even season games.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Westward ho! See you in SoCal!

  5. Anonymous says:

    And go Bears!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Coachella has a very impressive offense. Bears need to somehow steal a game in the dessert.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Is anyone attending the games in Coachella Valley?

  8. Jon Sorensen says:

    Greetings folks! Just a quick note, if you haven’t done so already, please consider subscribing to NoVa Caps posts in the “subscribe” box located in the upper right corner. Thank you!

  9. DWGie26 says:

    I’m excited for the Bears. Do we know status of Sgarbossa or Iorio?

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