WINSTON-SALEM, NC- As a result of the Danbury Titans ceasing operations for the 2017-2018 season, the Federal Hockey League held a draft dispersing the players who had tryout contracts signed with Danbury.

The Carolina Thunderbirds had three picks in the draft, selecting first overall, seventh, and thirteenth.

Carolina opened the draft selecting Dalton Jay, the 26-year-old Hamilton, Ont native. At 5’10” and 174 pounds, the forward Jay played the 2016-2017 season with the Danbury Titans. The Titan’s leading scorer that season, Jay scored 31 goals and 39 assists, 20 penalty minutes, and a plus 19 rating.

At the start of the second round, the Thunderbirds selected John Scully, a native of Arlington Heights, Il. The 25-year-old forward stands at 5’11” and weighs 170 pounds, and played for the Port Huron Prowlers, Danbury Titans, and the Southern Professional Hockey League’s Mississippi RiverKings in 2016-2017. In 33 games in the FHL last season, Scully had 17 goals and 15 assists, 43 penalty minutes, and was a minus 12 rating.

Finally the Thunderbirds drafted Nikita Ivandikov with the 13th pick in the draft. The goaltender is a native of Khabarovsk Russia, and at 24-years-old is 5’9” and weighs 143 pounds. During the 2016-2017 season, Ivandikov played in 31 games and posted a 16-14-0 record with the Danbury Titans. During that stretch Ivandikov put up a 3.05 goals against average, a .906 save percentage, and one shutout. Ivandikov also played for the Titans during the 2015-2016 season, appearing in 11 games. He earned a 7-1-0 record with a 2.64 goals against average and a .919 save percentage.

All three draft picks will be offered tryout contracts with the Thunderbirds and will have a chance to compete for a roster spot. Head Coach Andre Niec weighed in on the draft and the three players selected.

“I think (Dalton) Jay is one of the fastest guys in the league, I think he’ll have a big impact on the team and we’re happy to have him. (John) Scully is a hard-working kid, a good center-man, and a good leader. I think it’s his 4th year in the league, he’ll be a big help to the young guys. Nikita Ivandikov is a small goalie but he’s very acrobatic, I think he’s going to help our team win, we hope he agrees to come and play for us.”

The Thunderbirds have also signed another trio of players to tryout contracts, all three will have a chance to make the team during the training camp taking place October 18 through 21. The first is Tom Kilgore, a forward out of Pickney, MI. The 24 year old Kilgore stands at 6’0” and 194 pounds, and played for the Saint Clair Shores Fighting Saints and Port Huron Prowlers during the 2016-2017 season. In 51 games for both teams Kilgore scored 17 goals and 19 assists, had 53 penalty minutes, and was a minus 15.

Rob Belger, 24 years-old, has also signed a tryout contract with the Thunderbirds. The Yorktown, NY native is 6’3” and 201 pounds. The defenseman is a graduate of Nichols College, where he played 4 years, before a brief stint with the Danbury Titans of the FHL during the 2016-2017 season. In 14 games Belger had 1 goal and 3 assists, 9 penalty minutes, and was a plus 6.

Finally the Thunderbirds have agreed to a tryout contract with C.J. Blaska. Blaska, a 25-year-old forward hails from Brookfield, CT. The 5’10”, 181 pound Blaska played in 11 games for the Danbury Titans during the 2016-2017 season. During that time he scored 1 goal, had 2 assists, 4 penalty minutes, and was a minus 1 overall.

The Thunderbirds 2017-2018 regular season starts with opening weekend on Friday and Saturday, November 3 and 4. Season tickets for the Thunderbirds are on sale now for the 2017-2018 season and start as low as $55. Call 336.774.8895 for additional season ticket information. Advertising, corporate partnership, and group ticket opportunities are available for the 2017-2018 season, for more information please call 336.774.GOAL(4625) or email info@carolinathunderbirds.com.

The Carolina Thunderbirds play in the Federal Hockey League, which celebrates its 8th season in 2017-2018.