T-Birds Announce Establishment of Foundation

Oct 24, 2018
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Springfield Thunderbirds, a proud pillar of the western Massachusetts community, announced on Wednesday the formation of the T-Birds Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity that will serve to benefit causes in Springfield and surrounding Pioneer Valley communities.
The mission of the T-Birds Foundation is to serve the Springfield community and the Pioneer Valley beyond every win and loss through a focus on providing and supporting initiatives in the areas of health and wellness, youth enrichment, and civil service.
“We are privileged to serve our community here in Springfield, and the T-Birds Foundation will be another way for our franchise to show our tireless commitment to the people of Western Massachusetts,” said Thunderbirds President Nathan Costa. “We look forward to continuing to make life-changing impacts to charitable causes near and dear to the hearts of our fans, our community, and our partners.”
Though the organization has not had a formal foundation until now, the Thunderbirds have been able to make an impact in the community on and off the ice through annual staple events like Pink in the Rink (benefiting Rays of Hope), Hometown Heroes Night, Military Appreciation Night and the Teddy Bear Toss (in which bears are donated to children during the holidays), which will be cornerstones of the foundation’s events moving forward.
Through their first two full seasons in the AHL, the Thunderbirds have contributed more than $120,000 to charitable causes in Western Massachusetts. In addition, team mascot “Boomer” and Thunderbirds players have appeared and participated at more than 300 events in the surrounding community since the team’s launch in 2016.
Costa will serve on the Board of Directors for the T-Birds Foundation alongside:
  • Jessica Hansen, Springfield Thunderbirds
  • Diane Whelihan, Sheraton Springfield/Monarch Place
  • Fran Cataldo, CW Realty & Springfield Thunderbirds
  • Dena Hall, bankESB
  • Kristina Drzal Houghton, Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C.
Fans who wish to contribute a donation to the T-Birds Foundation can do so by visiting the Foundation's website.
In conjunction with the formation of the T-Birds Foundation, The Thunderbirds have also expanded their partnership with the Center for Human Development (CHD) Sled Hockey Team.
The newly renamed “Springfield Thunderbirds Sled Hockey Team” took to the ice for their first game on Sunday, Oct. 21 at the Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield. The program, administered by the Center for Human Development’s Disability Resources, supports three teams of adult competitive/travel, adult recreation, and youth sled hockey players. Anyone with a disability that would prevent them from participating in “stand-up hockey” is a candidate for sled hockey. The sport allows players with mobility limitations and lower-limb mobility impairments to play hockey and requires great upper-body strength, balance, and the ability to handle the puck. Even able-bodied individuals enjoy the sport of sled hockey and can play on a team. 
“CHD is thrilled to be putting on the T-Birds’ red jerseys this season, and we truly appreciate the support that the entire Thunderbirds franchise has given to our program,” said Ben Craft, vice president of Community Engagement for CHD. “We look forward to inviting some T-Birds players onto the ice to have fun and learn from each other, and we hope the community will come out and support the Sled Thunderbirds at their home games.”
“The players and I have been eager to join such a great partnership. We feel somewhat like celebrities in our community now, and we are all anxious to show off our team’s amazing sled skills,” said Jessica Levine, Program Manager of Disability Resources and Manager of the Springfield Thunderbirds Sled Hockey Team.
For more info on sled hockey and supporting or joining the program, please visit chd.org/DR
The Thunderbirds will host CHD’s “Sled Hockey Showdown,” which will include the “Military Sled Game” for Military Appreciation Night and the annual “Cammer Cup” at the MassMutual Center on Mar. 2, 2019 before the Thunderbirds game against the Providence Bruins. Fans are invited to come out and support the sled hockey program and enjoy all three games.
“It’s been my mission to provide opportunities for people in our area that are impactful and make a difference, and having the chance to work with Ben, Jessica and the entire team at CHD with their sled hockey program really embodies what I want our foundation to be about,” said Costa on the partnership. “The mission of this team is to provide hockey experiences for those that may have been dealt a difficult hand, and we couldn’t be more excited to be able to help change lives through the sport of hockey.”
Fans can learn more about the T-Birds Foundation here.
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