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Street Renamed In Honor Of Springfield's 'Mr. Hockey'


     The city of Springfield today renamed a downtown street in honor of the man credited with saving AHL hockey in western Massachusetts time and time again. 

       Over the course of 40 years in Springfield, hockey players, coaches, owners, teams, and arenas have come and gone. The one constant has been Bruce Landon.

    Now, the block-long street along the north side of the MassMutual Center, where the puck will drop in a few months for another season of AHL hockey, is called Bruce Landon Way in honor of the former player and long-time hockey executive.

    "I don't know if it gets any better than this," said Landon. " I was fortunate to get inducted into the American Hockey League Hall of Fame this year. Obviously, that was a tremendous thrill to me, but this rates right up there.  I'm just very humbled by it all."

    The new street signs were unveiled Tuesday morning to the cheers of about 100 people, including several wearing hockey jerseys with Landon’s name on the back.

   Landon was joined at the street sign unveiling by his wife of 45 years, Marsha, a daughter, and two grandchildren.

  "This has been a family thing  for me. Without the sacrifices and support of my family you don't get to do the things I've been able to," said Landon.  " They've been beside me for the whole journey and it has been fun for them to be part of it."

   Kevin LeBeau of Chicopee came to the ceremony wearing an old Springfield Kings hockey jersey with Landon’s name and the number 30 on the back.    LeBeau said as a child he became a fan of the Kings when the team won the AHL’s Calder Cup championship in 1971 with Landon as the backup goaltender.

"He's always been one of my favorites because he is so great with the fans," said LeBeau. " He comes out, shakes hands, signs autographs and that is what makes it a family event here in Springfield."

When a knee injury ended Landon’s playing career at the age of 28 he got a job in the front office of the Springfield Indians in 1979 and eventually moved up to general manager. 

After the Indians were sold and moved out of town in 1994, Landon put together a local investment group to obtain an AHL expansion franchise, the Springfield Falcons.  He was the president, general manager, and part-owner until 2014, when he stepped down, but remained a consultant to the team.

The Falcons were abruptly sold and moved to Arizona at the end of last season, and Landon announced his retirement.  That lasted about two weeks. He started working with a group of local businessmen who ended up buying the AHL Portland Pirates and relocated that team to Springfield with a four-year affiliation deal with the NHL Florida Panthers.

  Landon has signed on as a full-time consultant to the new Springfield Thunderbirds.  He admits to being an eternal optimist when it comes to hockey in Springfield.

  "Florida is going to give us a good product on the ice. With the enthusiasm created by the ownership group and management some nice exciting things are going to happen," said Landon.  " I think it is going to be a really, really good year here in Springfield."

  The street renamed in Landon’s honor had been called Falcons Way for the now defunct team.            

The record-setting tenure of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. The 2011 tornado and its recovery that remade the largest city in Western Massachusetts. The fallout from the deadly COVID outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. Those are just a few of the thousands and thousands of stories WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill has covered for WAMC in his nearly 17 years with the station.
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