Winston-Salem, N.C. – The Carolina Thunderbirds are announcing the return of forward Jiri Pestuka who has agreed to a three-year deal. Per team regulations, financial details have not been disclosed.

“I am very excited to return to the Thunderbirds this season” Pestuka said. “Working with Andre as long as I have has been great, I know exactly what he wants out of me and I hope to keep him happy through out this season. We have a good relationship that I hope continues to grow.”

Pestuka, 24, returns to Carolina after a strong first season with the Thunderbirds. Pestuka was a more than point per game player last year with 42 points (18G-24A) in 38 games as part of Carolina’s inaugural season.

A native of Prostejov, Czech Republic, Pestuka spent his first four years playing in the Czech junior system. He had spent time on the Czech Republic U17 and U19 junior teams before he made the jump to American hockey playing in the Western States Hockey League with the El Paso Rhinos. While there he was a part of their 2013-14 WSHL championship season.

Pestuka is going into his fourth year in the FHL, he spent two years with the Berlin River Drivers where he was teammates with current head coach Andre Niec.

“Were excited to have Jiri back in the mix this season” head coach Andre Niec said. “We know he is something of a commodity in the FHL but we think for us the best situation right now is to keep him for now.”

In Pestuka’s FHL career he has a 1.09 points per game average (63G-80A-143P in 131 games) during stints in Berlin and Carolina.

“As far as I know this is the first time in the Federal Prospects Hockey League that a player has been signed to a 3-year deal” GM/President Scott Brand said. “Pestuka is the type of player and person you want long term in your hockey family. Obviously if he has the opportunity to advance to a higher level then he will be moved up, but if he finishes his career in the FHL, he will remain a Thunderbird.”


The Carolina Thunderbirds are proud members of the Federal Hockey League, now in its ninth season. Carolina will be starting its second season of play looking to build on the success of its inaugural season where the Thunderbirds posted an 87-point season with a record of 25-5-2-24 (W-OTW-OTL-L). The Thunderbirds also set an FHL record with over 65,000 fans through the doors in their first season. Season and group tickets are on sale now by calling 336-774-GOAL (4625).