Team photographer Brian Liesse is introducing T-Birds fans to those connected to the team whose contributions might not be readily visible. We are excited about this project because we get to highlight those that make T-Bird hockey possible through their hard work and dedication to the team and the sport of hockey. We look forward to introducing you to T-Birds staff, accesso ShoWare Center staff, Booster Club members, Game Night Staff, Media, and others who help us celebrate and promote the team and the sport in the Pacific Northwest. Each person highlighted has answered a questionnaire about what they do with the team or how they are connected to the team,and some personal highlights. Brian took the photos of each person in their T-Bird environment.
What do you do for/with the Thunderbirds?
I’m the arena emcee for the T-Birds games at the accesso ShoWare Center. I spend game nights making announcements, playing games, giving away prizes, and doing my part to see that every fan leaves the ‘Sho feeling like they had an awesome night!
How long have you been working for/with the Thunderbirds?
This is my fifth season with the Thunderbirds – I’m originally from the Seattle area, and joined the organization after I graduated from college in Southern California and moved back home in 2015.
What is your favorite aspect of what it is you do for/with the Thunderbirds?
I love getting to know our fans… We have some really passionate Thunderbirds fans, and it’s been really cool spending time building relationships with them – whether it’s in the moments leading up to a frozen Ding Dong eating game, sitting next to the season ticket holder of the night and waiting for a whistle, or just hanging out on the concourse before the game.
What is the most challenging aspect of what you do for/with the Thunderbirds?
To be honest, I have the easiest job in the world with the T-Birds… I mean come on! I hang out with fans, give away cupcakes, make a couple of over-confident guys look like fools on the ice during the first intermission, announce a winner for the 50-50 prize, and occasionally get some down time to watch a hockey game. I have it pretty good!
What is your favorite Thunderbirds memory?
I, unlike many of our staff and fans, haven’t been around the Thunderbirds for very long. That said, I have two very vivid memories…The first is the home opener of the 2015-2016 season, a 4-1 win over Prince George, which was the first time I ever turned on the mic at the ‘Sho. And the second is Wedman’s winner in Game 4 against Kelowna in the 2016 Western Conference Championship – that was an awesome night.
Do you have any pre-game rituals or superstitions?
Casey stole my Michael Scott quote…But I do enjoy having a routine on game nights. Just before doors open, I like to sit in section 115 (center ice – row 11 – seat 11) for about 20 minutes. I take some time to relax, listen to music and gear up for the night.
Are you excited for an NHL team to come to Seattle?
I am! While I can’t say I’m super familiar or ingrained in the National Hockey League, I’m really looking forward to seeing the city of Seattle competing with some of the biggest names in hockey!
What do you enjoy doing when not working for/with the Thunderbirds?
I’m a promotions and marketing director with iHeartMedia Seattle, which is where I spend most of my weekdays. I love spending time with my amazing wife Taylor and our Shih Tzu – Scooter; I really enjoy cooking, but I’m terrible at following recipes; I’m extremely competitive and love playing cards or board games; and I love grabbing a cold drink, settling in, and watching “the game” – whether its Mariners, Sounders, Seahawks or T-Birds on the road.
What position do you/would you play if you were to play hockey?
I’d probably be a goalie. I’m a terrible skater… keeping me in one spot for the game would be a benefit to everyone on the ice.
Who are the Thunderbirds biggest rivals?
As a Seattle sports fan, I’ll live and die by the “Portland sucks” mantra. I know I don’t have as deep a history of the T-Birds-Winterhawks rivalry, but from my perspective over the last five years, I can tell you losing to Everett on home ice puts me in a bad mood for a good 24 hours.
I’ll go with Portland, but it’s very close.
Where can we find you on social media?
Instagram // @the.tyler.thomas
Twitter // @thetylerthomas_