SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- After a long wait due to the pandemic, the Springfield Thunderbirds are finally ready to make their way back to the rink.
Mark your calendars because the Thunderbirds have announced that opening night will take place on October 16 and expecting to host fans at full capacity.
After having to shut down their season last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Thunderbirds have officially announced some plans for the 2021-2022 season. It was March 2020 when the team last hit the ice at the MassMutual Center.
Western Mass News spoke with Thunderbirds President Nate Costa, who said the office has been working day-in and day-out to get to this point.
"Just a big deal for us and it just coincided luckily with the league releasing our six dates for the year. We get six dates and one of which is our opening night on October 16, so thrilled to be able to really push forward and hopefully be able to host a sold-out crowd in October. We're really, really looking forward to it,” Costa noted.
Those other guaranteed dates for the season include:
- November 5, 2021
- December 11, 2021
- January 15, 2022
- February 12, 2022
- March 5, 2022
Having to cancel their season last year due to the pandemic, president of the thunderbirds Costa said this team is ready to hear the noise again.
"Our anticipation is that we're going to be able to pack the house, so that's the hope," Costa said.
Though the pandemic forced everyone away from the rink for nearly 15 months here in Springfield, Costa told Western Mass News the players still kept in shape this entire time.
"The players this year split their time in Utica. When we decided not to play the St. Louis Blues had to have a place to put their payers to develop so what they did, they partnered with Vancouver and they split the roster in Utica. They completed their season last week," Costa said.
And as for these fans, they say they can't wait to see this team take the ice again.
The players are expected to make their way back here to Springfield in September for training camp. We know many of you have questions about season ticket sales, we're told those will be made available as the season nears, but Costa said the best way to secure your seats is to purchase a membership.
The team was one of three AHL teams to opt-out of the 2020-2021 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.