The Milwaukee Admirals are enjoying the limelight ... and the California desert
Tonight, the Milwaukee Admirals will play the Coachella Valley Firebirds in a Western Conference Finals game of the Calder Cup playoffs, the first time the franchise has reached that round since 2006.
A quick primer: For teams like the Admirals playing in the American Hockey League — the minor-league level just below the National Hockey League — the Calder Cup is akin to the Stanley Cup. This is the closest Milwaukee has gotten since that 2006 playoff year, when the team lost to the Hershey Bears in the finals. The Admirals' most recent trophy came in 2004, so reaching this stage of the playoffs is unfamiliar territory for most of the players, coaches and staff involved.
There's another wrinkle in the unfamiliarity of it all: Playing hockey in southern California in late May and June.
Coachella Valley joined the AHL this season as an expansion team, an affiliate of the newly-formed Seattle Kraken of the NHL. Nobody — perhaps not even the Admirals players — is more excited about the assignment in California's Inland Empire than the Ads' social-media manager.
The anonymous Twitter admin has taken followers on a special tour of the Firebirds' home this week, including to see, uh, a bunch of palm trees.
But all the touring around in the desert sun quickly set in for the admin. On Wednesday, the high temperature in Palm Springs hit 94 degrees with a UV Index of 11. Meanwhile, back in Milwaukee, the high was a mild 61 with blustery winds. With that in mind, the admin took it upon themselves to check in on some of the players and remind them to wear sunscreen.
Hopefully free of sunburns, the Admirals play two games in California before returning to UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena on Monday night for game three. The winner of the seven-game series between the Ads and Firebirds will face either Hershey or the Rochester Americans for the Calder Cup title.
You can pick up tickets and get all the information you need about this year's team on the Admirals website.