Apr 3, 2019

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Springfield Thunderbirds are proud to announce that Bobby Farnham has been named the team’s winner of the IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year award for his outstanding contributions to the Springfield community during the 2018-19 season.


Ever since his arrival in Springfield in 2017, Bobby Farnham has instantly become one of the most recognizable presences in the Thunderbirds’ short history. A ferocious competitor and a highly respected teammate, Farnham has also endeared himself to the Pioneer Valley community as a true champion off the ice. Before his first season in Springfield was over, Farnham provided an unforgettable day for a young hockey player and her grandmother – video can be seen here.


In the fall of 2018, Farnham rallied his teammates to take a stance in the fight against all cancers through the team’s Movember efforts. He appeared at events bookending the month of November – the shave-down to mustaches to kick off Movember and the clean-shave at the conclusion of the month. Through his efforts, the Thunderbirds’ first-ever Hockey Fights Cancer night brought out more than 5,000 fans and generated thousands of dollars to charity via postgame auction on Nov. 24.


Farnham’s most admirable trait is his ability to provide random acts of kindness. Shortly after arriving at training camp, and unprovoked, Farnham approached Thunderbirds management alongside teammate Harry Zolnierczyk expressing a desire to partner with a local charitable organization. Within a matter of days, Farnham was connected with Griffin’s Friends, a group of volunteer philanthropists whose chief goal is to provide support to children and families affected by pediatric cancer. At his request, Farnham avoided headlines and surprised children from Griffin’s Friends at their Holiday Kick-Off celebration alongside “Harry Z.”


Throughout the season, the “926 Club”, started by Zolnierczyk (#9) and Farnham (#26), invited children from Griffin’s Friends and their families to enjoy Thunderbirds games and, in turn, meet their 926 Club heroes after the 60 minutes were up.


The 926 Club would be just one of many impactful ways Farnham proudly represented the T-Birds. This winter, when the opportunity presented itself for the Thunderbirds to join Western Mass News in providing support and a surprise to a young hockey player undergoing financial hardships, again Farnham had involvement. After a practice, he surprised two brothers from Chicopee with T-Birds gifts and some thoughtful advice. (Video can be seen here).


Farnham was not alone in his support of community endeavors, either. With support and leadership from his girlfriend, Bailey, as well as fellow team girlfriends and wives, Farnham and the T-Birds generated more than $2,600 for charity through holiday puck-wreath sales. Proceeds benefited the Thomas E. Smith Fight to Cure Paralysis, a cause near and dear to Farnham in his native Boston area.


Even as the season was nearing its conclusion, Farnham has not stopped his desire to step outside the rink to impact the Pioneer Valley, as he personally arranged a floor hockey clinic and visit to the Boys and Girls Club of West Springfield.


For as fierce and tenacious as Bobby Farnham has proven to be on the ice, his steadfast commitment to positively impacting his community might just top his already-enormous competitive fire.


Farnham is now one of 31 finalists for the AHL’s 2018-19 Yanick Dupre Memorial Award, honoring the overall IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year. The league award is named after the former Hershey Bears forward and AHL All-Star who died in 1997 following a 16-month battle with leukemia. The winner of the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award will be announced by the American Hockey League at a later date.


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