Springfield Thunderbirds Raise $30,000 for Rays of Hope

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Thunderbirds announced a donation of $30,000 to Rays of Hope as a result of proceeds from the live jersey auction during the T-Birds’ sixth annual Pink in the Rink game on March 11.

Thunderbirds President Nathan Costa and Vice President of Sales & Strategy Todd McDonald presented a check to Rays of Hope earlier this week inside the MassMutual Center. This year’s Pink in the Rink game set new records for total funds generated, and the MassMutual Center came out in full force with a sixth straight Pink night sellout crowd of 6,793.

Established during the T-Birds’ inaugural season in 2016-17, Pink in the Rink serves as a kickoff to the Rays of Hope fundraising efforts each March to shine a light on breast-cancer awareness outside of the traditional October awareness month. Each year, the fundraising efforts culminate in the annual Rays of Hope Walk & Run in October. Since the establishment of this staple night, the Thunderbirds have generated more than $100,000 for the Rays of Hope Foundation, all of which stays local in Western Mass. in hopes of finding a cure.

“Pink in the Rink once again proved to be one of the most special nights of our historic season,” said Costa. “We share in the Rays of Hope Foundation’s pride for our community and our fan base for their steadfast support year in and year out. We want to congratulate the Rays of Hope on their 30th anniversary and are proud to continue such a meaningful partnership that celebrates so many brave women and men in Western Massachusetts who have not only survived breast cancer, but also thrived in generating awareness through their Rays of Hope family.”

Proceeds for this donation were raised primarily via the post-game live jersey auction, as every Thunderbirds player had his jersey sold to directly benefit Rays of Hope. In addition, Chris Hayes, general manager of Oak View Group Hospitality, the food and beverage partner for the MassMutual Center, contributed toward the donation total through the sales of Pink Whitney beverages throughout the evening.

“We’re sending our signature big pink hug to the Springfield Thunderbirds and their fans for illuminating hope in our community,” said Kathy Tobin, director of Annual Giving and Events for the Baystate Health Foundation. “As we kick off Rays of Hope’s 30th anniversary, we reflect on those who have helped us get to this moment. We may not have a cure for breast cancer yet, but we have made lifesaving breakthroughs in treatment, and the research continues. Importantly, we have a big extended family of support here in Western Massachusetts. Thank you to the T-Birds for lifting our survivors up.”