Thunderbirds show support for Maine shooting victims, honor retired captain
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - It was big night for the Thunderbirds on Saturday as they celebrated the career of a team legend, fought to continue a winning streak, and warmed up in Maine Mariners jerseys to support the community of Lewiston as they pick up the pieces from last week’s deadly shootings.
“Let’s go Thunderbirds,” said Seth Carpenter of Easthampton.
It was a big night for hockey players and fans as they to celebrated and gave back. Saturday night was the second night the team sported Portland’s ECHL’s Maine Mariners jerseys, which are up for auction. Proceeds will benefit the Maine Community Foundation and support victims of last week’s shootings in Lewiston.
“The idea came up to raise some money through the community victims through the Maine Community Foundation,” said Springfield Thunderbirds President Nathan Costa.
Costa told Western Mass News that, not only was it a night to give back, but a night to celebrate the retirement of one of their own, Tommy Cross, with well-wishes, a ceremonial puck drop, and of course, a bobblehead.
“He was our captain for three seasons, but he has been a longtime AHL player, longtime pro, and made a huge impact on our community. He was instrumental, obviously, in the run to the Calder Cup Finals,” Costa explained.
One family we spoke with on Saturday said that they’re proud to be fans and looked forward to everything Saturday’s game had to offer.
“Hockey supports the community, no matter where they are, so it’s awesome to see these guys supporting Maine…absolutely,” Seth Carpenter added.
“Look, he’s inside. It looks like we kidnapped him,” said six-year-old Harper.
[Reporter: how do you feel about him retiring?]
“Bad, I’m going to miss him once he retires,” Harper added.
The Thunderbirds were able to continue their winning streak with a 3-2 overtime win Saturday against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
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