Carolina Thunderbirds Expansion Draft

(Winston-Salem, NC) The Carolina Thunderbirds of the Federal Hockey League participated in the 2017 expansion draft today and selected twelve (12) players as the team prepares for the 2017-18 season. President and General Manager, Scott Brand selected seven (7) forwards and five (5) defensemen from the available list of unprotected veterans. The Thunderbirds were only allowed to select up to 3 players from one team and will now work on hiring their head coach and director of hockey operations along with filling in the final 18-man roster. Brand added, “I am excited about our selections and believe we have the nucleus of a winning team. We used some of our hockey sources to help us, and we will continue to do so as we search for a starting goaltender. Being in the hockey world for over thirty years, I’ve met some knowledgeable people, so I am confident we will be okay in the net.”

2017 Carolina Thunderbirds Expansion 12-Man Roster

Nate O’Brien Forward 23 years old Shoots: L 6’0 185lbs. Londonderry, NH (US Citizen)

Watertown Wolves 41 games played 2 goals 11 assist 13 points +17 32 PIM

Last year was 1st season as a professional player

Ryan Wilkinson Defense 26 years old Shoots: R 5’10 180lbs. St. Albert, AB (Canadian)

Danbury Titians 11 games played 0 goals 11 assist 8 points +3 2 PIM

Played college hockey at SUNY-Fredonia and for the Huntsville Havoc in the SPHL

Dan Chang Forward 26 years old Shoots: R 5’11 185lbs. Billings, MT (US Citizen)

Port Huron Prowlers 29 games played 6 goals 4 assist 10 points -3 58 PIM

Played for Danbury, Berlin and Watertown in the FHL during 2016-17 

Rob Belger Defense 25 years old Shoots: R 6’2 200lbs. Yorktown Heights, NY (US Citizen)

Danbury Titians 14 games played 1 goal 3 assist 4 points +6 9 PIM

Played college hockey at Nicholas College, once finished joined Danbury

PJ Hefferin Forward 26 years old Shoots: R 6’1 205lbs. Boynton Beach, FL (US Citizen)

Danbury Titians 10 games played 4 goals 0 assist 4 points + 5 14 PIM

Joined the Titians after playing college at Lebanon Valley College

Scott Witmyer Forward 26 years old Shoots: L 5’11 160lbs. Marysville, PA (US Citizen)

Port Huron Prowlers 35 games played 12 goals 17 assist 29 points -16 39 PIM

Played in the Eastern Junior Hockey League and U-Mass Boston. Played for the Knoxville Ice 

Bears last season along with Port Huron.

Tom Kilgore Forward 25 years old Shoots: L 6’0 194lbs. Pickney, MI (US Citizen)

Port Huron Prowlers 51 games played 17 goals 19 assist 36 points -14 53 PIM

Graduated from Oakland University and named to the Great Lakes Collegiate Hockey League in 

2013-14 all defensive team.

Brand Fehd Defense 26 years old Shoots: R 5’11 185lbs. Gilbert, AZ (US Citizen)

Berlin River Drivers 24 games played 5 goals 13 assist 18 points -12 25 PIM

Played 34 games in the Southern Professional Hockey League during the 2016-17 season.

Justin Apcar Blaszak Defense 29 years old Shoots: R 5’11 185lbs Valley Village, CA

Watertown Wolves 55 games played 2 goals 18 assist 20 points -12 37 PIM

Played for the Danbury Titans in 2015-16. 

Eric Witzel Forward 24 years old Shoots: L 5’11 185lbs. Ottawa, ONT (Canadian)

Danville Dashers 22 games played 9 goals 15 assist 24 points +10 29 PIM

Played with Danville, Huntsville (SPHL) and Peoria (SPHL) in the 2016-17 season.

Vojtech Zemlicka Forward 22 years old Shoots L 5’11 185lbs. Praque, CZ (Czech)

Berlin River Drivers 43 games played 10 goals 15 assist 25 points +21 22 PIM

Last season was his season as a professional. 

Kyle Powell Forward 23 years old Shoots: R 5’11 185lbs. Ajax, ONT (Canadian)

Watertown Wolves 52 games played 9 goals 26 assist 35 points -21 26 PIM

2nd year veteran, played with Danbury during the 2015-16 season

The Thunderbirds look to hire a head coach within the next few weeks along with the 2017-18 season schedule. Season tickets are on sale for the 2017-18 season and start as low as $55.  Call 336.774.8895 for season ticket information.  Advertising and promotional opportunities are also available for the 2017-18 season. For additional information please call 336.774.4625 or

The Thunderbirds begin play in the Federal Hockey League, which celebrates its 7th season in 2017-18.