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Mayor Sarno Congratulates Springfield Thunderbirds for being named the AHL Team of the Year

Springfield, MA – Mayor Domenic J. Sarno congratulates our Springfield Thunderbirds for being named the American Hockey League (AHL) Team of the Year.  The Thunderbirds announced today that they received the prestigious AHL President’s Award for the 2021-2022 season during the Board of Governors’ Annual Meeting.

The Award is given to the team that demonstrates overall excellence both on and off the ice.  During the T-Birds 2021-22 season, the team set numerous records across the board, including average attendance (5,375), season tickets sold, overall ticket revenue, and corporate sales revenue.  This in addition to their historic Calder Cup playoff run where they captured the AHL’s Easter Conference Championship during the franchise’s first-ever playoff appearance, including their first trip to the Calder Cup finals since 1991.

Mayor Sarno states, “As a longtime season ticket owner, congratulations to our beloved Springfield Thunderbirds on being named the AHL Team of the Year!  What an amazing year they had!  Winning 43 games in the regular season and securing the bye week in round one of the playoffs, to sweeping the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and the Charlotte Checkers (AHL Team of the Year in 2019-20) in the second and third round respectively, to a thrilling game 7 victory over the Laval Rocket to advance to their first Calder Cup finals appearance.”

“Unfortunately, we came three wins shy of bringing the Calder Cup home as we ran into an extremely hot Chicago Wolves team.  However, one thing I can personally attest to, was for certain, the excitement, energy and atmosphere was electric!” Mayor Sarno continued.  “Throughout their playoff run our MassMutual Center became the Thunderdome!  The arena was packed, fans were cheering and that energy and excitement carried over into the streets with thousands of people patronizing our many local businesses and restaurants in our downtown.”

During the T-Birds Calder Cup playoff run, the Thunderbirds set attendance records, averaging 6,134 fans for their 11 home playoff games, including sellout crowds of 6,793 during game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals and all three of the clubs Calder Cup final home games.

In addition, the Thunderbirds were also awarded the AHL Team Business Award for reaching 600 new Full Season Equivalents (FSEs) during the 2021-22 season.  General Manager Kevin McDonald was also named the recipient of the Thomas Ebright Memorial Award for outstanding career contributions in the AHL over his three decades in professional hockey.

“Again, congratulations to our local ownership group, including Paul Picknelly, for their continued belief and investment in our Springfield, T-Birds President Nathan Costa and his team, and to the coaches and especially the players who gave it their all – we’ll get them next year!” said Mayor Sarno.  “We are all proud of the accomplishments of our T-Birds as they continue the tradition of showcasing exciting AHL hockey here in Springfield.  Fans for all over the Greater Springfield area come downtown to cheer on their beloved team and enjoy the sport of hockey.  I/we are all looking forward to next season and I’ll see you all for the season opener on October 15th!”

For more information on the Springfield Thunderbirds and to check out their 2022-2023 season schedule visit their website at