Carolina continues blueline construction with Kennedy

Winston-Salem, NC – The Carolina Thunderbirds have signed right-handed defenseman Joe Kennedy ahead of the 2022-2023 season. Kennedy most recently played in the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL), as the captain of the Stouffville Spirit.

“Joe is a player I have coached over his junior career,” said Head Coach Garrett Rutledge. “He’s going to be an exciting player to watch. Offensively minded with great speed, he is a well-rounded defenseman and has the ability to throw some thunderous hits.”

Kennedy just wrapped up his final season of junior hockey, posting a career-high 27 points in 51 games with the Spirit. His OJHL career concluded after 163 games between Stouffville, Markham, Milton, Oakville, and Orangeville.

After being drafted by the Ontario Hockey League (OHL)’s Saginaw Spirit in 2017, Kennedy would make the Prince George Cougars roster out of training camp in 2019. He skated in five Western Hockey League (WHL) games with the Cougars that season.

“I’m excited to start a new journey,” said Kennedy. “I’ve looked at some of the names we’re going to have on this team, and I feel very strongly that we can compete for a championship.”

Kennedy joins recent signings like Jeff Burridge and Tucker Firth in the wave of OJHL alumni to make Carolina their first professional home. Currently, the Thunderbirds have 10 veterans of the OJHL on their roster.

The Seattle, WA native also joins the long list of Thunderbirds to captain his previous team.

“Kennedy, Firth, Burridge, all captains.” said Rutledge. “It shows the quality of players that Carolina is getting, and they’re absolutely great people.”

Kennedy and the Thunderbirds open the season with a trip to Port Huron on October 21st. Carolina returns home to their fans the following week with an October 29th showdown against Delaware. Puck drop for the home opener is set for 6:05pm.