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Springfield Thunderbirds to Host Sensory-Friendly Game on Sunday, March 8

March 2, 2020 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Springfield Thunderbirds News Release

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Springfield Thunderbirds, in conjunction with the Center for Human Development (CHD) and Springfield College's Department of Occupational Therapy, announced on Monday that they will host a Sensory-Friendly game on Sunday, March 8 as the T-Birds host the Hartford Wolf Pack at 3:05 p.m. at the MassMutual Center.

The game presentation will feature decreased stimulation, including:

No goal horn and noise meters

Decreased microphone & music volume

No strobing lights

Consistent lighting throughout the game and pregame

Two "Cool Down Stations" - a quiet area on the concourse and main entry level of the MassMutual Center, away from the seating bowl

A 'sensory story' booklet and other supportive items for guests

Since their inaugural season in 2016, the Springfield Thunderbirds have remained longtime partners with CHD. The partnership celebrates community-focused initiatives and difference makers in the Western Mass community. At each T-Birds home game, a "Game Changer" award is presented to a member of the crowd who has bettered his or her community in ways both large and small. Additionally, the two organizations have partnered to create an opportunity for all - including those with physical limitations - to enjoy the game of hockey with the introduction of the CHD Sled Hockey Thunderbirds. The Springfield Thunderbirds have also been steadfast supporters of the CHD Cancer House of Hope, which is committed to providing access to free services and therapies that bring comfort, care, strength, resilience and hope to patients with cancer and their loved ones.

"After seeing other professional sports teams take on this similar game experience, we agreed that a Sensory-Friendly night would be a unique and meaningful way to present a T-Birds game, with the great support of CHD," said Thunderbirds President Nathan Costa. "An ordinary hockey game is not very conducive to those with sensitivities, but our hope is that by changing elements of the game presentation, we can introduce an entirely new audience to this great game. This idea was a no-brainer for all of us."

"Helping people of all backgrounds and abilities enjoy positive life experiences is a big part of fulfilling our mission," said Ben Craft, Vice President of Community Engagement for CHD. "For us, the opportunity to support a Sensory-Friendly game is a natural extension of our longstanding relationship with the Thunderbirds, and we appreciate the help, expertise, and flexibility that the team and Springfield College have provided to make this a game to remember for fans."

"This initiative by the Thunderbirds and CHD allows individuals with sensory sensitivities to experience a hockey game, which would typically be a challenge without modification," said Lori Vaughn, Professor and Chair of the Springfield College Occupational Therapy Program. "The occupational therapy student volunteers have been working to help create a sensory-friendly environment and will be present in the cool down stations, where they will have a variety of sensory-based calming activities to support children and families."

For more ticket information or to become a 2020-21 Springfield Thunderbirds ticket package member, or to purchase single game tickets, call (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.


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