Andre Niec Named Coach of the Year

Winston-Salem, NC - The Carolina Thunderbirds are pleased to announce that head coach Andre Niec has been named the FHL Coach of the Year for the 2018-19 season.

Niec, 36, is in his second season coaching the Carolina Thunderbirds and third year overall as a head coach. His tireless effort on and off the ice has earned him the respect of his players, front office staff and his fellow coaches too. 

"I'm very happy for this award and glad to be Coach of the Year" Niec said in a statement. "This is a team effort, without my team and management I could have never been considered for something like this. We are a family and everyone is important in this organization." 

Niec's message of family has been a guiding factor for the Thunderbirds this season who have broken many league records with him at the helm, including most wins in a season and longest win streak in FHL history. His record as a Thunderbirds head coach as of this writing is 65-27 (4-3 overtime record).

Top to bottom Niec has put together a top-notch lineup that has won almost 90% of the points available to them this season. His leadership combined with his ability to bring out the potential of every one of his players has been on display this year to lead Carolina to the #1 seed in the FHL playoffs.

"I think one of the most important people to thank is [Thunderbirds President/GM] Scott Brand" Niec continued. "Without all his guidance and help I would have never been put in a position to win this award, he is truly invaluable to the organization."

Niec's award is his third from the FHL after he won Defenseman of the Year in 2016 and Executive of the Year in 2017.


The Carolina Thunderbirds are proud members of the Federal Hockey League, now in its ninth season. The Thunderbirds are in their second season of play building on the success from last year with a regular season championship in 2018-19 and are looking forward to their second consecutive trip to the playoffs. The Thunderbirds have set an FHL record again at the gate, breaking their own attendance record with over 80,000 fans through the doors this season.