Fans, Thunderbirds mourning loss of superfan ‘Monkey Man’

Fans, Thunderbirds mourning loss of superfan ‘Monkey Man’
Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 12:18 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- The Springfield Thunderbirds recently lost one of their biggest supporters, Robbie Everson.

“He just wanted to have a good time and make people smile,” said Robbie’s mother, Della-Marie D’Antonio.

Thunderbirds season ticket holder Andrew Bushey knew Everson as “Monkey Man,” while team president Nathan Costa noted, “He was the Monkey Boy.”

“He had some antics with monkeys,” D’Antonio added.

Bushey could be found at every Springfield Thunderbirds home game with his sidekick, Jynx.

“If it wasn’t for him, this place wouldn’t be as enthusiastic as it is. He would get all the chants going,” Bushey explained.

“The experience of coming to a game is what we’re all about and he lived it and he breathed it and he loved it,” Costa added.

On January 16, Everson passed away. He was 32 years old. Western Mass News had the chance to speak with him in 2021.

“It means so much to me. I met so many great people through here. I made so many great friends, and it’s my home roots,” Everson told Western Mass News in October 2021.

Everson and his grandmother would carry rally monkeys around their necks, which were picked up at one of the many Red Sox games the duo attended, until his grandmother’s passing in 2021.

“He went to the games with my mom and it was their special time together…He had to be there and he just absolutely loved it,” D’Antonio said.

The Easthampton native’s home away from home was inside the MassMutual Center - Section 16, Row A, Seat 13 – which was conveniently positioned directly behind the visiting goaltender.

“Loudness, obnoxiousness, nothing but good vibes,” Bushey said.

Bushey sat right next to Everson. “We met and we just clicked and the rest is history,” he added.

Thunderbirds fans now carry monkeys of their own to keep Everson’s legacy alive. The team honored him with a moment of silence and donated back the 50-50 raffle at a recent home game.

“It’s just overwhelming. Everybody came up to us at that game after he had passed, telling us how much he affected their lives,” D’Antonio explained.

“To see the impact that a hockey franchise in a small town like Springfield can have…it just put a lot into perspective for me,” Costa noted.

Bushey is selling t-shirts and bracelets in his honor. Now, after an appearance in the 2022 Calder cup finals, the Thunderbirds are playing for something more this season.

“Every single goal is for you bud, every single goal,” Bushey said.

Bushey told us that, so far, he’s sold close to $3,000 worth of merchandise, which will benefit the Tunnels to Towers Foundation and go towards buying Everson’s season ticket to keep his seat open as long as possible.