John Buttitta named Captain of Thunderbirds

Winston-Salem, NC – The Carolina Thunderbirds have named John Buttitta as the 3rd captain in team history. Buttitta’s captaincy comes after Joe Cangelosi was placed on indefinite family leave. Cangelosi has been with family in New Jersey since mid-November.

“It’s a unique situation,” said Buttitta. “But I’m honored to wear the ‘C’ for such a prestigious organization. It’s a pleasure to come to the rink every day and lead this group of guys into battle.”

Buttitta has been the Thunderbirds leading scorer this season. As of December 31st, he leads the team in goals (11), assists (12), and points (23).

“John Buttitta has been a leader on and off the ice ever since he came to Carolina. We couldn’t be more proud to have him as our captain,” said Thunderbirds General Manager Kelly Curl. “Our thoughts have been with Joe and his family over the last six weeks. While we wish he could be here, we know that family comes before everything.”

“John has stepped up in a major way in Joe’s absence,” said Head Coach Garrett Rutledge. “It made the most sense to put the ‘C’ on his sweater while we await Joe’s return.”

Buttitta came to the Thunderbirds as a free agent during the 2019-2020 season. In 45 games in Carolina, he has scored 21 goals and 26 assists for 47 points.

Prior to his professional career, Buttitta was the all-time leading scorer at Kent State with 271 points. He also played with Thunderbirds teammate George Holt with the Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks of the NA3HL.

In addition to Buttitta's captaincy, Gus Ford has been named as an alternate captain. Ford joined the Thunderbirds midway through November, and immediately cemented himself as an elite forward. In just 12 games, Ford has ten goals and eight assists for 18 points.

In his first game as captain, Buttitta scored three goals and an assist against the Delaware Thunder, leading Carolina to a 9-5 victory Wednesday night. He makes his home debut as captain tonight against the Danbury Hat Tricks. Puck drop is set for 7:35pm.