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Former Springfield Falcons hockey star Daniel Briere left fond memories: Editorial

                           Daniel Briere, Erik Johnson

To those who are not hockey fans, Daniel Briere might not be a household name, but the NHL star who retired this week left a very profound and positive impact on downtown Springfield.

From 1997 to 2001, Briere played for the Springfield Falcons, a franchise formed after the Indians left and moved to Worcester in 1994. Briere was a fan favorite from the moment he arrived; at 5-foot-10 and 181 pounds, he was one of the smallest players on the ice but a skating sensation with a gifted scoring touch that netted 88 goals in 169 Falcons games.

This week, the 37-year-old Briere retired after an NHL career that saw him score 307 goals with 389 assists. His size probably delayed his ascent to the big leagues, which was unfair, but it was a blessing to a new AHL franchise in Springfield.

The all-time attendance records for Springfield were not set at the Eastern States Coliseum as is commonly assumed, but at the MassMutual Center in the late 1990s. Marketing and promotion are always crucial factors, but so was Briere’s electrifying presence on the ice and the ease in which fans related to him.

“It’s not easy to market individual players at the minor league level, but Daniel was the best we had,” Falcons director of hockey operations Bruce Landon said. “Our experience is that Springfield fans especially relate to three types of player – goaltenders, fighters and little guys.”

Briere was, and is, a little guy with a big heart.
Years after he left Springfield for the NHL, the Republican received a letter with a Quebec postmark from his wife, saying how much both husband and wife appreciated the city and the support he received.

Did the Falcons survive solely on the appeal of watching Briere play? No, that’s a stretch, but to say he was a critical element in those early years – and the single best hockey-related reason – is spot-on.

It was a tribute to his popularity that Springfield fans were not selfishly pleased to see Briere kept in town and held back from the NHL because of his size. They knew he deserved a promotion and eventually, he was rewarded with a 973-game NHL career with Phoenix, Buffalo, Philadelphia, Montreal and Colorado.

Now that he is retired, it would be outstanding for the Falcons to invite him back someday to reconnect with his fans. In their hearts, Briere never really left, and his impact on our hockey team and its viability in Springfield is a legacy that should not be forgotten.

Story Courtesy of Masslive. By The Republican Editorials

Springfield Murals Start Conversation in the City

Story Courtesy of WWLP.com

Springfield murals start a conversation in the City

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Perhaps you’ve seen them: paintings on the sides of buildings in downtown Springfield.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Perhaps you’ve seen them: paintings on the sides of buildings in downtown Springfield. 22News found out who painted them – and why.

A conversation’s starting in Springfield, and you’re about to be a part of it.

“There’s no place like home,” said John Simpson, an artist who we’ll call “the conversation starter.” As you might have guessed, he’s referring to the Wizard of Oz. He’s created a larger-than-life replica from a scene of the movie on the side of a vacant building on State Street in downtown Springfield.

“And there’s no place like Springfield and we didn’t put it on here, but Springfield being the City of Homes, we thought it would be appropriate,” he continued, explaining why he chose that scene. But that alone isn’t much of a reason to paint detailed murals on each side of this vacant building by Court Square in downtown Springfield.

“You create a visual kind of way of people finding space interesting and you suddenly start to change the conversation about what the space is all about,” said Evan Plotkin, the so-called “mastermind” behind this painting and other works of art in the City of Springfield. He’s calling the movement “City Mosaic.” His philosophy: If you paint it, they’ll come. And they have.

“Circulation of people, you get more people on the street, which leads to more retail investment. More investment period,” he added.

 

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Welcome to Downtown – Khi & Eli’s

A Big Welcome to Khi & Eli’s
Food for the Soul

khi and eliThe Springfield Business Improvement District would like to welcome Khi & Eli’s to Downtown! Located at 1600 Main St., Khi & Eli’s are serving food for the soul.

Stop on by for Lunch or Dinner.

Hours 

Monday Closed

Tues – Thurs  11am to 9pm

Fri – Sat  11am to 11pm

Sunday  12pm to 6pm

A Big Welcome to Baystate Dental to Downtown

A Big Welcome to Baystate Dental

baystate dental

The Springfield Business Improvement District would like to welcome Baystate Dental to Downtown Springfield. The new office is located at 1383 Main Street. Baystate Dental is located in a building that was constructed in 1915 as the Third National Bank. We are very excited to have them in our community!

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(Images from MassLive.com)

Cruise Night at Stearns Square in downtown Springfield was a success

Classic Cars Make Their Way Back to Springfield


Cruise Night Logo

 

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Springfield, MA- The Duryea Motor Wagon Company, the first American firm to build gasoline automobiles, had its beginnings in Springfield back in 1895.  Now classic and antique cars are making their way back to Springfield for Cruise Night, occurring every Monday this summer.  Last night, June 22, was the first night of Springfield’s Cruise Night; offering not only classic and antique cars, but also great music and delicious food.

"MadMax"

“Mad Max”

The inaugural Cruise Night at Stearns Square in downtown Springfield was a success; with 14 classic car enthusiasts registering their vehicles.  The antique cars lined the two parallel streets next to Stearns Square.  No classic Duryea’s were showcased, however, a variety of other classic cars showed up, including the first car to register – the infamous “Mad Max”.

“I was thrilled that Downtown could play host to Cruise Night,” shares Chris Russell, Executive Director of the Springfield Business Improvement District.  “With all the history of the automobile in Springfield we thought it only made sense to have a car show.  If you love the classic automobiles as much as I do please join us next Monday night.  And if you have a classic car of your own… don’t forget to register too!”

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While checking out amazing antique cars, attendees listened to classic music from the 50’s and 60’s and enjoyed food from two terrific downtown restaurants, Adolfo’s and Theodore’s.

Cruise Night at Stearns Square features classic and antique cars which are 20 years or older.  If you would like to register a car you can do so beginning at 5pm.  Registration is on Worthington Street across from Stearns Square.  Registration fees are currently being waived! At the end of each night, there will be trophies awarded.

Welcome Queenie’s to Downtown!

Queenie’s Island Cuisine & Grill

Queenie's

 

The Springfield Business Improvement District would like to welcome  Queenie’s Island Cuisine & Grill to Downtown. They are located at 220 Worthington Street. Our team had the pleasure of stopping in for a delicious lunchtime meal, we cannot wait to go back!

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Worthy Craft Beer Showcase has put Springfield on beer map

Story courtesy of MassLive.com

For years, people have talked about the city of Springfield making a big comeback.  Well, when it comes to craft beer, it already has.

This year, there are two beer festivals in town: the Worthy Craft a Beer Showcase and Valley Fest occurring in late August. The Worthy runs noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

The Worthy Craft Beer Showcase has become one of the most beloved beer festivals in the area by true beer aficionados. A block of Worthington Street (in front of Theodores’ and Smith’s Billiards) is cordoned off for the festivities. Tickets are $40

In talking to people who have been to the festival several times, one thing they like is the intimate atmosphere in what is basically a beer block party.

“This beer festival is such a welcoming environment to enjoy beer craft beer, both local and out of state, with a crowd of people who are as friendly of a group you’ll find,” said Brock McConkey of Northampton, who has attended three of the Worthy fests over the years. “It’s event not to be missed.”

The unique angle for this celebration is that brewers are asked to bring one flagship beer and one specialty brew to showcase to drinkers. Of course, they usually sneak more than two brews in, which is fair game and which makes beer fans happy.

There is also a home brewing contest, which showcases some real brewing talent by amateurs in the area. Contestants bring a minimum of five gallons to participate, and each festival attendee is given two tokens, which are used for voting. Attendees can drop one or both of their tokens into a brewer’s collection bucket by 2 p.m., after which each bucket is counted, with the winning homebrewer being allowed to make their beer at Amherst Brewing on its system to serve it as official fest beer next year.

Last year, Josh Britton of Footbridge Brewing in Wilbraham won the homebrewing contest for his Alien IPA, which will serve as the official Worthy Fest Beer this year.

Tyler Guilmette, head brewer for Northampton’s Brewmaster Jack is looking forward to his inaugural year at the festival. Guilmette usually attends all the big brewfests around Massachusetts, but has not been to the Worthy before.

“This is the first year I’ve been invited and I am very excited to be going,” he said. “We will have the usual suspects like Stray Dog Lager, Ambrewsia IPA, and Total Eclipse Porter. We’ll also be bringing some specialty IPAs, like our Hoppiness is a Warm Pun.”

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Springfield considers 1-block historic district to protect Willys-Overland building damaged by gas explosion

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Story courtesy of MassLive.com

SPRINGFIELD — The city’s Historical Commission is proposing that the former Willys-Overland block on Chestnut Street in the downtown be approved as a new historic district in Springfield, aimed at protecting it from demolition or other adverse changes.

The recommendation is scheduled for consideration by the City Council on Monday night. The meeting starts at 7 p.m., at City Hall.

The vacant building at 151-157 Chestnut St., constructed in 1916, is the former Willys-Overland Motor Co., a significant part of the city’s early automotive history, said Robert McCarroll, a member of the Historical Commission.

The new historic district would involve a single building and adjacent lot, bordered by Chestnut, Worthington and Winter streets. The building was damaged in a downtown gas explosion in November 2012.

Historical Commission Chairman Ralph Slate praised the proposed new historic district, saying the building is a “key part of that automobile-oriented neighborhood.”

“It is well-built in an eye-pleasing style,” Slate said. “Its absence would negatively transform that neighborhood and I believe it could be redeveloped to become a great asset to the downtown.”

 

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