Springfield, Mass. (WWLP) – To alter a famous line from the memorable movie “Casablanca” it looks like the start of beautiful friendship between the Springfield Thunderbirds and western Massachusetts hockey fans.
22News found out how much of a hit Springfield’s new American Hockey League team made with the folks who love rooting for the home team.
The Thunderbirds got off to good start winning the hearts and loyalties of generations of hockey enthusiasts here in the Pioneer Valley.
The team showed the kind of heart that bounces back can win in overtime, as the Thunderbirds certainly did, 5 to 4 in their first home game at the MassMutual Center.
22News found fans Sunday at Springfield’s Smead Arena at Blunt Park. Two fans from Ludlow, who attended that memorable home game debut, told 22News they’ve got high hopes for future games they’ll be attending.
Nuno Pereria, of Ludlow mentions, “People were upset when the Falcons were leaving town, so now we have the Thunderbirds. First game couldn’t have gone any better, it was an entertaining game, a sellout crowd, I think that’ll bring fans back as long as they keep winning.”
Paulo Gomes, of Ludlow said, “It was nice to see different things that they did, from what I’m used to in the past. A couple of different promotions, a dollar for a hot dog, and just give people reasons to get into the rink.”
One way to get them into the fan base and keep winning at the same time. Apparently, this is one first impression that could enjoy longevity between fans and the team they cheer up close.
Fans can’t wait for the Thunderbirds next home game. They won’t have long to wait, with tickets on sale now for Friday’s game at the MassMutual Center.