The Springfield Thunderbirds have confirmed their name and unveiled their logo ahead of their inaugural season in the American Hockey League. The Thunderbirds are the former Portland Pirates, American Hockey League affiliate of the Florida Panthers, who relocated from Maine to Massachusetts following the just completed 2015-16 AHL season.
Springfield had just lost the Falcons who called the city home since 1994, the Springfield Falcons were affiliated with the Arizona Coyotes and moved to Tucson last month in order to be closer to their parent club.
Thunderbirds as a name is a neat homage to Springfield’s two most recent former AHL clubs the Indians and the Falcons, a thunderbird is a Native American legend referring to a bird who flaps its wings to create thunder.
“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, Thunderbirds Executive Vice-President in the press release.
The logo also plays up its ties to the Florida Panthers new military-themed identity, “Thunderbirds” is a famous plane in the U.S. Air Force and also a reference to two nearby Air Force bases.
During the announcement the club also noted they have extended their affiliation agreement with the Florida Panthers another four years.