Thunderbirds host annual ‘School Day’ game for area students
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - It was an early day on the ice on Wednesday for the Springfield Thunderbirds, who played in front of a sold-out crowd of local students at the MassMutual Center for the team’s annual ‘School Day’ game.
For the seventh straight year, young students left their number two pencils, forgot about homework and tests, and spent a day enjoying Springfield Thunderbirds hockey.
“I’ve only been to a couple of these games before and I think it was awesome that I was going to get to go with my friends,” said Sophia Murdzia, a sixth grader at West Springfield Middle School.
“I came here last year with my other school, Memorial. I was happy because the experience was really fun,” added Amira Maytham, a sixth grader at West Springfield Middle School.
The game between Springfield and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms was sold out with approximately 6,000 kids, as well as chaperones and parents, cheering on their Thunderbirds and having nothing but endless fun. Thunderbirds President Nate Costa called Wednesday one of the best days on the schedule.
“A lot of these kids don’t get a chance to come to the arena or get to come to an event a lot of times, so getting to show them a hockey game (and) getting to make it educational, that’s important for us,” Costa explained.
Among those in attendance, students from Springfield, Chicopee, and West Springfield Public Schools.
“It was really exciting because this is my first time at the Thunderbirds,” said West Springfield Middle School sixth graders Ellain Lubwama.
“I, honestly, just hoped to have fun and see the Thunderbirds score a couple of goals,” Maytham added.
It did not take long for the T-Birds to score a goal. It only took 20 seconds into the contest to make the fans go wild.
Costa believes games like this are a good opportunity for kids who want a future in sports.
“We held a symposium before the game, talking about ways that kids can work in sports, not necessarily being an athlete, but getting to be on the front office side and what the path is to get there and really trying to open their eyes,” Costa added.
In the end, all of the kids made a memory that would last forever.
“We already have a couple days off this week, so it’s like we get another day off,” Murdzia noted.
Regardless of the result, all of the kids had a great time. The Thunderbirds plan to have more school day games in the years to come.
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