SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The ice is ready, the glass is being cleaned, and the arena is all set for the Springfield Thunderbirds home opener Saturday night. This first home game for the city’s new AHL franchise is sold out. They are anticipating the largest crowd for a Springfield hockey game in more than a decade.
“We will have the largest crowd in over 10 years in Springfield hockey history,” said Nathan Costa, Executive Vice President of the Springfield Thunderbirds.
Back in May the Springfield Falcon’s where sold, but the Florida Panthers signed a multi-year affiliation for Hockey in Springfield.
After months of preparation, the team will play their home opener.
“Hopefully this momentum starts, we’ve been talking about filling the building and hopefully this translates and people come out and have a great time and it rolls on,” said Costa.
If you didn’t get tickets to Saturday’s game, there are still seats available for their next home game next Friday.
For those who did snag a ticket, its a chance to see this new young team.
“A new team, new ownership and support, It’s all about support, i’d hate to see Springfield not have a hockey team,” said Springfield Hockey fan, Joe Laflamme.
The Thunderbirds won two pre-season games- both at home- against the Providence Bruins and the Hartford Wolfpack. On the road, they lost their first regular-season game against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, but won their second against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The Thunderbirds’ road trip is continuing, with a game Friday night against the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins Friday night.
Before Saturday’s home opener, there will be a tailgating celebration at 4:00 P.M.