SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Football returned last week and now opening night for the Thunderbirds hockey season is only one month away.

The Ice Crew over at MassMutual Center began the installation of the ice Thursday and it’s a nice reminder that hockey season is now right around the corner. Every year around this time, by hand, the MassMutual Center paints the lines and adds the logos.

This work being done is all in preparation for the Thunderbirds season and home opener on Saturday October 14th vs the Hartford Wolfpack. 22News spoke with the broadcaster for the Thunderbirds about this tradition and how he feels with the season coming up.

“One of our favorite times of the year. We’re painting the ice, getting ready for the season. We’re exactly a month away from opening night and this is kind of just symbolic of how we’re turning the corner into the fall and can’t wait to get another season off the ground,” said Ryan Smith.

Unfortunately, the Thunderbirds were not able to advance in the playoffs last year but Smith says that he is hoping and believing that the team has a chance to make a run for the Calder Cup this season.

Not only does every Thunderbird fan have some exciting AHL hockey to look forward to but the team also has a whole season filled with promotional nights. On March 23rd, Uncle Rico and Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite will be at the game.

Local News

Heath Kalb is a reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since 2022. Follow Heath on X @HeathKalb and view his bio to see more of his work.