Ford returns after record-setting rookie season

Winston-Salem, NC – The Carolina Thunderbirds have secured another key piece of their leadership core by re-signing Gus Ford for the upcoming season. In addition to setting offensive records the Thunderbirds in 2022, Ford also donned an ‘A’ in his first season with Carolina.

“I’m extremely proud of the season Gus had for our club last season,” said Carolina's head coach Garrett Rutledge. “He’s a key piece to our offence and I’m very excited to have his leadership, professionalism, dedication, and skillset back with the Thunderbirds.”

Ford joined the team in mid-November, scoring two goals and an assist in his first weekend of Thunderbirds action. By December, he would embark on a blazing 19-game point streak in which he tallied 20 goals, 20 assists, and 40 points.

“I’m super excited to be back with the Thunderbirds,” said Ford. “I enjoyed my time in North Carolina last year, and that was a big factor in signing for this year. I’m just looking forward to getting back on the ice and playing games in front of our awesome fans.”

Ford began his record collecting on March 11th in Delaware. With a pair of goals, he became the first Thunderbird to hit the 30-goal mark, eclipsing Jan Salak’s 29 goals scored in 2019-2020.

Less than a month later, again against Delaware but this time in Winston-Salem, Ford hit another goal record. With a hesitation wrist shot over the glove of Greg Harney, Ford arrived at the 40-goal plateau.

In the last game of the regular season, Ford would smash one more record: the single-season point record of 83, which was previously held by Josh Pietrantonio. With a pair of goals in Binghamton on April 15th, Ford reached 84 points on the season in 55 games played.

“Fordy’s success comes from the great person he is and how humble yet determined he is to play hockey here in Carolina,” coach Rutledge continued. “He’s a key piece of our success and it’s an absolute pleasure to watch Gus do his thing and bring the Annex to their feet.”

For his production during his rookie campaign, Ford was named to the FPHL’s Young Stars Squad. Prior to his arrival to the FPHL, Ford spent four years at Northland College, racking up 93 points in 104 games. In 2017, Ford was named to the NCHA All-Freshman team. He also split eight games of SPHL action between Quad City and Macon.

Ford is expected to start the season with the team on October 21st in Port Huron.