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Brady Denniston served as the Springfield Thunderbirds announcer during their game on April 20.
Photo credit: Kaylah Circosta

In celebration of Fan Appreciation Night on April 20, the Springfield Thunderbirds announced that South Hadley High School sophomore Brady Denniston would be the team’s public address announcer for the season finale, filling in for regular PA voice Steve Forni.

Denniston, a Thunderbirds season ticket holder, said he received a call from his season ticket representative, who passed the phone to Thunderbirds President Nathan Costa.

Costa asked if Denniston could be the PA announcer for the game, which is something that Denniston has hoped to do for a long time.

He added, “I have been frequently asking about if they ever need a fill-in that I could do it, and they never really gave me a straight answer, but they let me do the game on Saturday and I was over the moon, just absolutely, incredibly excited.”

Denniston has been a season ticket holder since the 2017-18 season, a year after the team’s inception, and said his dream was to eventually serve as the PA announcer.

Denniston has assisted the Thunderbirds’ staff as the public address voice for the T-Birds’ preliminary hockey games since the 2021-22 season.

He has also served as the public address announcer for South Hadley Tigers basketball, baseball and soccer games since seventh grade and is an active member of South Hadley High School’s Sports Network initiative, where he serves as the lead play-by-play broadcaster.

Denniston said that he began to work with the Thunderbirds after they heard about his work with the South Hadley High School teams.

He said, “Some of the Thunderbirds staff caught wind of that and wanted me to start doing the Thunderbirds preliminary games, which are a men’s league or youth team that plays before the game, so I have been doing those for a few years.”

Denniston has been a fan of sports for as long as he can remember and his dream to pursue a role in public address announcing came from going to Thunderbird games.

He said, “I think it all comes back to the Thunderbirds. Going to games for as long as I have, hearing the announcements done by the incomparable Steve Forni. He does an incredible job and I always idolized him when I went to games so I sort of wanted to mirror what he did and I have been doing it for my high school and the Thunderbirds to try and get myself in the field.”

Denniston said he has worked with and shadowed Forni a few times over the years, which prepared him for the game.

He added, “I think I did OK. I definitely had some of the jitters, so some of the reads didn’t go as perfectly as I thought they would, but I think it went OK. The cues I was getting helped a lot, the timing wasn’t an issue.”

Denniston said that he is still in disbelief of the experience and that he hopes this is not the last time.

“Part of me is still trying to comprehend the experience. I couldn’t believe I was doing it even when I was there doing the introductions. It’s super exciting to know that I got to do that and hopefully will have the chance to do it again in the future,” he added.

Denniston said he has wanted to pursue a career in this field for a long time and that this experience will help him focus on school and with his search for the next step, college.

He said, “It’s extremely nice to put on my resume because as a sophomore in high school I want to start looking into colleges sooner rather than later, so it’s something nice to have on there and it makes me think about how much more I can do in the future, knowing I’ve been able to do that.”

Sports in general have also been a big part of Denniston’s everyday life.

He said, “I’ve loved sports for as long as I could remember. Baseball has become not even just the sports for me, but they’ve become coping mechanisms. They help me get through my day. I’m always repping the Red Sox or Montreal Canadiens or the Thunderbirds, in this case. I am in no physical condition to play sports, but getting to still be around the game and getting to enthuse people at the games. Getting to rile the crowd up and get some cheers out of it makes me happy.”

Costa said that he was happy to provide this opportunity to a big fan of the Thunderbirds and help him with his future goals.

He added, “Fan Appreciation is an event where we, as an organization, show our gratitude towards our fans for their unwavering support of the Thunderbirds. We have witnessed Brady’s growth as a fan of our team, and his passion and enthusiasm for the game and our organization have led us to offer him this opportunity. We believe that he will excel in this role and hope it motivates him to continue chasing his dreams.”

tgarnet@thereminder.com | + posts