Springfield T-Birds Present Jerseys to USAF Thunderbirds

Aug 10, 2017
Westfield, MA -- As part of the kickoff to the Westfield International Air Show festivities on Thursday, the Springfield Thunderbirds hockey team proudly presented custom jerseys to the officers of the United States Air Force Thunderbirds.

The USAF Thunderbirds are “America’s Ambassadors in Blue.” Every Thunderbirds officer has a specific and crucial role, and traditionally, officers assigned to the Thunderbirds adopt their number as their unofficial “call sign.” The eight Thunderbird officers who were presented with Springfield Thunderbirds jerseys (numbered 1-8) are all highly experienced fighter pilots who have each served a two-year tour of duty.

The Springfield Thunderbirds name was derived with inspiration from the prior AHL team namesakes in the city – with homages paid to the Indians (as a Thunderbird is a mythical Native American legend) and the Falcons (a fierce bird of prey) – but the franchise’s name was also chosen with a distinct tribute in mind.
“In naming the new hockey franchise in Springfield last year, we wanted to pay homage to the military, in particular the Barnes Air National Guard Base, the 104th Fighter Wing and, by extension, the United States Air Force Thunderbirds,” said Thunderbirds President Nathan Costa. “On behalf of all of our owners, we at the Springfield Thunderbirds are privileged to be able to present these special jerseys to the USAF Thunderbirds as a token of our appreciation and support of the Thunderbolt Council and 104th Fighter Wing at Barnes Air National Guard Base.” 
In addition to the gifts presented on Thursday, the Springfield Thunderbirds also have announced they will be introducing military pricing on single game tickets for active and veteran military personnel for the 2017-18 AHL season. Military personnel will receive significant savings of up to $7 off on ticket prices when purchasing at the MassMutual Center box office on the day of a game. More information on single game tickets will be announced in the coming weeks. 
“It is vitally important that we recognize all of those who have made service to their country a top priority,” said Costa. “With that in mind, we are pleased to be able to implement a special ticket price for all active and veteran military members this coming season.”
The Springfield Thunderbirds hockey team will continue to have a presence at the Westfield International Air Show all weekend, including appearances by mascot Boomer on Saturday and Sunday. Additionally, show spectators can participate in the Springfield Thunderbirds’ inflatable, interactive hockey game.
The airshow, which runs August 12-13 in conjunction with the 104th Fighter Wing Open House, is making its return to the Pioneer Valley for the first time since 2010. It will feature the United States Air Force Thunderbirds and showcase many aircraft through aerial and static displays.

Parking lots at Barnes ANGB will be open at 6:30 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, August 12-13. Attendees can use the GPS address of 825 Southampton Road, Westfield, Mass. and will be provided parking instructions upon arrival. 
Spectators are encouraged to visit www.westfieldairshow.org for more information on the airshow, parking, and other inquiries.
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