Springfield Thunderbirds

T-Birds to Host Sensory-Friendly Game on Sunday, March 3

February 27, 2024 - 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, will be hosting their 4th Annual Sensory-Friendly Game on Sunday, March 3 at 3:05 p.m. when the Thunderbirds host the Bridgeport Islanders.

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 2016, the Springfield Thunderbirds and CHD have shared a heartwarming partnership, rooted in a mutual dedication to uplifting the Western Mass community. Every home game becomes an avenue to recognize unsung heroes, with the "Game Changer" award given to an individual who has made significant contributions to the community. Additionally, the partnership has fostered inclusivity, ensuring everyone, even those with physical limitations, can revel in the joy of hockey through the CHD Sled Hockey Thunderbirds. The Thunderbirds' commitment extends beyond the rink, with initiatives like Hockey Fights Cancer lending unwavering support to the CHD Cancer House of Hope. This beacon of optimism offers free services and therapies to cancer patients and their families, giving them comfort, care, strength and hope in their fight against cancer.

"We're filled with gratitude to once again deliver a significant and inclusive experience to T-Birds hockey fans who may not have had this opportunity previously," said Thunderbirds President Nathan Costa. "Our partners at CHD have long established themselves as exceptional community leaders, offering an abundance of resources for our region's residents. Their unwavering support, coupled with Springfield College's Occupational Therapy department, enriches our organization and the families who attend the Sensory-Friendly Sunday game each year."

"We are so pleased to see this partnership established as a highlight of the Thunderbirds' annual slate of special games," said Ben Craft, vice president of Community Engagement at CHD. "Inclusion is one of our core values as an organization, and welcoming a new group of fans to a game each year is a privilege for us and a clear demonstration of the T-Birds' commitment to our community."

"The Occupational Therapy Program at Springfield College is once again thrilled to be part of this wonderful initiative with the Thunderbirds and CHD," said Lori Vaughn, Professor of Occupational Therapy at Springfield College. "The Sensory-Friendly Game allows individuals with sensory sensitivities to be present and engaged in Thunderbirds hockey, which might otherwise not be possible. Along with the modifications the Thunderbirds have put in place, the Student Occupational Therapy Association Club at Springfield College will be volunteering in the cool-down stations with a variety of sensory-friendly activities they have planned to support children and families."

Fans with questions regarding the Sensory-Friendly Game can direct them to the Thunderbirds front office at (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or by visiting

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