We have a name and branding for the former American Hockey League Portland Pirates, relocating for the coming season to Springfield’s MassMutual Center: the Springfield Thunderbirds.
The Thunderbirds replace the Springfield Falcons, relocated this offseason to Tucson by the Arizona Coyotes.
“The Springfield Thunderbirds’ name represents the strength and pride of western Massachusetts. It is a nod to our hockey past, a tribute to the men and woman of the Air Force who are so vital to this region, and a symbol of the new energy and spirit that is palpable in Springfield,” said Nathan Costa, the Thunderbirds Executive Vice-President.
Thunderbirds is an allusion to two previous Springfield AHL hockey team names, the Indians and the Falcons. The name refers to the animal of Native American legend that creates thunder and lighting by flapping its massive wings. Like the falcon, it is also a fierce bird of prey. The name also refers to the famous demonstration planes of the U.S. Air Force and serves as an homage to Barnes Air National Guard Base and the Westover Air Reserve Base, in Westfield and Chicopee respectively.
The announcement follows a “name the team” campaign that solicited suggestions from the public in a survey coordinated in partnership with MassLive and the Springfield Republican. The survey received over 2,600 responses.
“We would like to thank the thousands of fans who participated in this survey. We were overwhelmed by the creativity and enthusiasm of those who submitted suggestions. Our fans wanted a name that honored the proud history of AHL hockey in Springfield while at the same time reflecting the new energy and excitement of this franchise. We believe the Thunderbirds captures this spirit,” Costa added.
The logo features a bird’s head in bright blue with a curved beak against a background of red and yellow. The team’s name is picked out in yellow and white.
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