Thunderbirds to host ‘sensory friendly’ game on Sunday

Thunderbirds to host ‘sensory friendly’ game on Sunday
Published: Feb. 22, 2023 at 1:48 PM EST
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - The Springfield Thunderbirds have a couple of games this weekend and now have 25 wins on the year. However, the game on Sunday will be a little different and have a focus on fans with sensory needs.

The team will be hosting their third annual ‘sensory friendly’ game. Thunderbirds President Nate Costa told Western Mass News that this is a way to include members of the community who may not respond well to really loud noises and big visual effects.

“There are a lot of people that can’t do it in that type of environment and so, we want to make sure that, especially kids, they have a chance to come out and experience what this is like in a different way,” Costa said.

On Sunday, the music will be played at a low volume and there will be no flashing videos on the scoreboard. This particular game is also in partnership with the Center for Human Development (CHD), an organization dedicated to enhancing the welfare of people in need. Ben Craft, CHD’s vice president of community engagement, told us this opportunity is very special for everyone involved.

“It’s been a delight for us to see the way people who are used to one experience and embrace this experience and welcome people who you might not see every night at a game, but are getting a chance to be here on Sunday,” Craft explained.

During a regular hockey game, fans would normally hear a horn and see flashing lights should their team score. However, for this particular game, if the Thunderbirds score a goal, they will hear nothing.

“The playing on the ice is great and the hockey is going to be great, but also, (we’re) trying to be sensitive to their issues and trying to do the right thing by the community and being closer to our community,” Costa added.

Both Costa and Craft hope for the partnership to continue and give so many an experience like no other.

“It’s equal access to something that’s fun and recreational and a great day out for people who may have sensory challenges,” Craft said.

The puck drops at 3:05 p.m. Sunday against the Charlotte Checkers.