T-Birds Honor Syner as Person of the Year

May 13, 2022

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Springfield Thunderbirds announced today that Jim Syner has been chosen as the Thunderbirds' team winner of the IOA/American Specialty AHL Person of the Year award.

Traditionally acknowledging a player for his outstanding contributions to his local community, this season the league expanded the Person of the Year program to allow teams to recognize individuals who played an important and perhaps unexpected role in supporting their organization and/or impacting the local community as the AHL again navigated through a season impacted by COVID-19.

Since the Thunderbirds' inception into the league in 2016, Syner has been an integral part of the Thunderbirds' community presence in Springfield as the primary performer of mascot "Boomer." The Springfield area native also played the role of team mascot "Screech" in the final seasons for the Springfield Falcons before the T-Birds took Springfield's AHL reins in 2016.

Over the course of nearly six years, Syner and the Thunderbirds have made nearly 1,000 community visits in Springfield and the surrounding Western Massachusetts area. Among the wide range of highlights, Syner and "Boomer's" highlights annually include the "World's Largest Pancake Breakfast," the Springfield Parade of the Big Balloons, and numerous school visits through the Thunderbirds' Stick to Reading program.

Even as the Thunderbirds did not compete on the ice during the 2020-21 season, Syner and "Boomer" remained fixtures in the public eye, helping to Feed the Frontline and lend support to all those Hometown Heroes working through pandemic circumstances in and around the community.

"Jim's passion and support of his hometown community are evident every time you see 'Boomer' at an event bringing smiles to faces of fans, both young and old," said Thunderbirds President Nathan Costa. "He has long been a champion of the Pioneer Valley, and this Person of the Year award recognition allows us to extend our utmost appreciation to Jim for all that he has done for fans of hockey and the greater Springfield area as a whole."

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