HILTON HEAD, S.C. – The Springfield Thunderbirds were honored by the American Hockey League on Wednesday night with four “Team Business Service Awards” at the annual Board of Governors meetings. The Thunderbirds were honored for overall ticket sales, season-ticket sales, group-ticket sales, and corporate sponsorship sales.

Hockey in Springfield had struggled for years in attendance when the Falcons were in town and then were sold to the Arizona Coyotes. When Paul Picknelly and a group of local investors from Springfield purchased the Portland Pirates from Ron CainNathan Costa and the Thunderbirds front office worked feverishly to get the word out about hockey’s return to the AHL hub. Attendance improved as the Thunderbirds averaged 4,664 people per game, boosting attendance by 50 percent.

“It is extremely humbling and at the same time, gratifying to be honored with these team business excellence awards. Each and every person on our staff played an integral role in the growth we had within our business, and these accomplishments would not have been possible without their dedication. We are excited to build on this success.” Costa said in a news release.

“These awards are a testament to the energy and excitement our team, our front office, and our ownership group have brought to the City of Springfield and the region. We want to thank our sponsors, our fans, and the entire community for embracing this franchise and helping make our inaugural season such a fantastic success. ” Picknelly remarked.

The Thunderbirds will kickoff their 2017-18 home slate on Saturday night October 14th at the MassMutual Center.

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