Springfield’s new American Hockey League franchise will take the ice for the upcoming 2016-17 season as the Springfield Thunderbirds. With hockey fans and local dignitaries looking on from center ice seats at the MassMutual Center, team officials announced the new name through a pulsating two-minute video on the arena’s state of the art LED scoreboard.
“The Springfield Thunderbirds’ name represents the strength and pride of western Massachusetts. It is a nod to our hockey past, a tribute to the men and woman of the Air Force who are so vital to this region, and a symbol of the new energy and spirit that is palpable in Springfield,” said Nathan Costa, the Thunderbirds Executive Vice-President.
Thunderbirds is an allusion to two previous Springfield AHL hockey team names, the Indians and the Falcons. The name refers to the animal of Native American legend that creates thunder and lighting by flapping its massive wings. Like the falcon, it is also a fierce bird of prey. The name also refers to the famous demonstration planes of the U.S. Air Force and serves as an homage to Barnes Air National Guard Base and the Westover Air Reserve Base, in Westfield and Chicopee respectively.
The announcement follows a “name the team” campaign that solicited suggestions from the public in a survey coordinated in partnership with MassLive and the Springfield Republican. The survey received over 2,600 responses.
“We would like to thank the thousands of fans who participated in this survey. We were overwhelmed by the creativity and enthusiasm of those who submitted suggestions. Our fans wanted a name that honored the proud history of AHL hockey in Springfield while at the same time reflecting the new energy and excitement of this franchise. We believe the Thunderbirds captures this spirit,” commented Costa.
The logo features a bird’s head in bright blue with a curved beak against a background of red and yellow. The team’s name is picked out in yellow and white.
In coordination with the team name announcement, the franchise also launched its new website, www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com and social media accounts. Fans can now log onto the website and place a deposit for season ticket memberships. The team’s social media handles are:
– Facebook: Springfield Thunderbirds
– Twitter: @thunderbirdsahl
– Instagram: thunderbirdsahl
– Snapchat: thunderbirdsahl
– Vine: thunderbirdsahl
– Flickr: thunderbirdsahl