Thunderbirds captain, CT native eyes AHL Championship
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Tommy Cross is a local kid who’s been around New England hockey his whole life and now, he’s attempting to lead the Springfield Thunderbirds towards a championship.
“I love the community feel. I know how big hockey is in western Mass. I grew up playing at the Olympia,” Cross said.
After growing up less than an hour away in Simsbury, CT, Cross is happy to call Springfield home.
“It’s great for the young guys to see the fans that Springfield has because I’ve played against this team numerous times and it can be a difficult place to play,” Cross explained.
Leadership is part of his DNA. He wore the ‘C’ at Boston College and with the Providence Bruins before being named the third T-Birds captain in franchise history last October.
“It’s meaningful to be seen as a guy that others can look up to…I think it also means I’ve had some really good role models that I’ve tried to learn from,” Cross noted.
Cross is here to stay after signing a one-year contract extension with the team last week.
“It shows how much I like it here: the staff and the players and the community,” Cross added.
He told Western Mass News that he’s using his experience to lead by example, staying even keeled and teaching younger players not to get too high or too low over the course of a long season. With the T-Birds at the top of the Atlantic Division standings, he’s got his sights on bringing a title to ‘the City of Homes.’
“Most of the successful teams I’ve been on have really good young players, but there’s also a mix of young and old players that can kind of steady the ship…I’m hoping to turn those playoff appearances into championship runs,” Cross explained.
He hopes to have some help from the western Massachusetts faithful.
“The fact that you’re in our building here supporting us, it means a lot and we try to win for you guys,” Cross said.
The Thunderbirds begin a three-game homestand Wednesday against the Bridgeport Islanders. Puck drop is at 7:05 p.m.
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