Croop Named Assistant Coach of the Thunderbirds

Winston-Salem, NC –Croop Named Assistant Coach of the Thunderbirds. 

What’s New

Carolina Thunderbirds forward Jay Croop suffered an injury during the game on Saturday, March 31st at the Port Huron Prowlers. The injury, to Croop’s lower body, has been determined to be season-ending and as such Croop will miss the remainder of both the regular season as well as the playoffs. Croop, a native of Glen Allen, Virginia, is playing in his 3rd season of professional hockey. He has suited up in 48 games for the Thunderbirds so far this season, tallying 18 goals, 17 assists, 66 penalty minutes, 3 game-winning goals, and 94 shots on net. 

Head Coach Andre Niec weighed in on the loss of Croop on the ice. “It’s obviously a big loss to us, Jay was a real heart and soul guy on the team and worked hard all year long. He has been bought in to our system and what we’ve been trying to do all season long. We’ll miss him on the ice but it’s great to still have him here in the locker room and on the bench being a vocal leader on this team.”

Additionally, the Thunderbirds have also released forwards Jason Berube and Kyle Stevens. Berube, from Port-Cartier, Quebec played in 27 games for Carolina and had 7 goals and 16 assists to go along with 10 penalty minutes, 2 game-winning goals, and a +3 rating. Stevens, from Boston, MA, played the majority of the season for the Danville Dashers before being acquired by the Thunderbirds. In just 5 games played for Carolina, Stevens would score 2 goals and get 3 assists.

Following this weekend’s regular-season finale against the Port Huron Prowlers, the Thunderbirds are required by the Federal Hockey League to lock in their playoff roster. The Thunderbirds playoff roster will be announced Sunday, April 8th at 10:30 am. The announcement will coincide with a live announcement of the roster on the air on WTOB “The Big 980” in Winston-Salem during the “Sunday Morning Sports Brunch” talk show. The show can be heard on 980 am and 96.3 fm and streamed online at

What’s Coming Up

The Thunderbirds will skate at home on Friday and Saturday, April 6th and 7th against the Port Huron Prowlers. Friday’s game is the final “Frosty Friday” of the regular season, presented by R.H. Berringer Distribution and Pepsi Co. All domestic, non-craft, draft beers and all Pepsi products are just $2 at Thunderbirds Concession Stands. Prior to the game as well at the Plaza at the Fairgrounds Annex it’s the “Labatt Blue Pre-Game Party” featuring the Scooter Brown Band playing from 6:15 to puck drop. A ticket to the game gets you into the concert for free. The puck will drop at 7:35 pm EST with the doors of the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Annex opening one-hour prior. WKTE “The Wave” 1090 am is the presenting partner of Friday night’s contest.

On Saturday the Prowlers and Thunderbirds will skate in the final regular season game of the 2017-2018 season. The puck will drop at 6:05 pm, with the doors of the annex again opening one-hour early. It’s “Fan Appreciation Night” presented by WTOB “The Big 980” and the 1st 1000 fans in attendance will get a special Thunderbirds team poster.

The Thunderbirds Coaches show will continue on Tuesday the 10th on WTOB, the flagship station for Thunderbirds Hockey. Tune in with Scott Brand, Al Kessler, and Andre Niec as they break down the regular season and preview the upcoming playoff series.

Wednesday and Thursday, the 11th and 12th of April, the Thunderbirds will be practicing at the Greensboro Ice House. The practices will be open to the public and will run from 10:00 am to 11:15 am each morning.

The Thunderbirds will finish the regular season in 3rd place in the FHL, locking in a 1st round playoff battle against the Watertown Wolves. The series will begin on Friday, April 13th as the higher-seeded Wolves will visit Winston-Salem to take on the Thunderbirds. Tickets are now on sale on Ticketmaster and at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Box Office. Game 1 of the 3-game series will start at 7:35 pm at the Annex, with the doors opening one-hour prior. Afterwards the Thunderbirds will travel north to Watertown for game 2 of the series. The puck will drop on Saturday the 14th at 7:30 pm from the Watertown Municipal Ice Arena and you can hear the Honda of Winston-Salem pre-game show starting at 7:05 pm est on the Thunderbirds Radio Network. If necessary the deciding game 3 will be played Sunday the 15th in Watertown and will be a 4:00 pm puck drop, with the Honda of Winston-Salem pre-game show starting at 3:35 pm.

In addition, season tickets for the 2018-2019 regular season will go on sale on Thursday, April 5th. To reserve your seats for Thunderbirds hockey or for more information, please visit or call 336-774-GOAL(4625).