SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Hockey season has returned and the Thunderbirds will be hitting the ice for the first time this season on Saturday night.

A total of 6,793 fans will pack into the MassMutual Center on Saturday and that means it’s the seventh consecutive season with an opening sellout. Not a surprise for a fanbase that has a lot to look forward to this year.

The Tbirds have played their three preseason games and are now set to play game one of their regular season. In addition to the exciting hockey that will be played, the team fills their calendar with promotional nights and this year, an important new initiative.

This season the Tbirds have partnered with the Massachusetts American Legion for their “Be The One,” campaign which is aimed at reducing the rate of veteran suicide.

22News spoke with Thunderbirds team president Nathan Costa about what he’s looking forward to with the season starting up Saturday night hosting the Hartford Wolf Pack. “We’re excited to get back. We’re excited to get some revenge on Hartford for knocking us out last year and you know it’s great to have hockey back. The energy is going to be great. Our team looks good and think our fanbase is excited about getting started.”

With Saturday already having sold out and the team expecting similar turnouts the rest of the season, the Thunderbirds have established additional ADA parking accessibility for fans on game nights this year. There will also be free shuttle services for those with disability placards, originating from the Springfield Parking Authority lot.

Saturday night’s festivities will begin with the Opening Night Block Party from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the Plaza at MGM Springfield and then puck drops at 7:05 p.m.

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.