Thunderbirds President Nathan Costa Presented with James C. Hendy Memorial Award

Jul 5, 2019

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - American Hockey League President and CEO David Andrews announced that Thunderbirds President Nathan Costa has been selected as the winner of the James C. Hendy Memorial Award, given to the outstanding executive in the American Hockey League for 2018-19.


Costa was recognized Thursday evening at a gala reception during the Board of Governors’ Annual Meeting at Hilton Head Island, S.C. The James C. Hendy Award is named for the late Jim Hendy, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame and AHL Hall of Fame and long-time statistician and historian for the AHL who won four Calder Cups as general manager of the Cleveland Barons.


“It’s a great honor to be recognized as this year’s Hendy award winner for the success our front office has had in the Springfield community this past season,” said Costa. “None of this would have been possible without the dedication of our entire staff, as well as the support of Paul Picknelly and the entire ownership. This award has been won by so many great individuals, and I am humbled to now be a part of that group.”


Costa has reenergized professional hockey in his hometown of Springfield, Mass., with passion, creativity and dedication at the helm of the Thunderbirds. The club has seen dramatic increases in attendance in each of the franchise’s first three seasons, including a 5,085 per-game average for the 2018-19 season. 11 different nights were sellouts for hockey inside the MassMutual Center, including the AHL’s signature event, the All-Star Classic. It marked the second straight season in which nine Thunderbirds games were played before a capacity crowd of 6,793 fans.


“On behalf of our local ownership group, I want to congratulate Nate on this prestigious and well-deserved honor,” said Paul Picknelly, Managing Partner of the Thunderbirds. "Under Nate’s leadership, the T-Birds have shattered ticket sale records, created unique and memorable events for our fans, and sparked a renewed interest in professional hockey that has brought energy and excitement to a city and region. In just three short years, he has truly set a new standard for fan engagement, sales, and marketing for our entire league."


In addition to Costa’s recognition for the Hendy Award, the Thunderbirds were also recognized in Hilton Head for excellence in digital media for the 2018-19 season in the Eastern Conference. These two honors add to a Thunderbirds trophy case that already includes recognition for a 15% growth in per-game Full Season Equivalents and for the Marketing Campaign of the Year (#RiseUp). Those two honors were presented to the Thunderbirds at the AHL Marketing Meetings last month in Charlotte, N.C.


For more information or to become a 2019-20 Springfield Thunderbirds ticket member, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit


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