Josh Pietrantonio Awarded League MVP
Winston-Salem, NC - The Carolina Thunderbirds are excited to announce that team captain Josh Pietrantonio has been named the FHL's regular season MVP for the 2018-19 season.
Pietrantonio, 25, is a three-year veteran of the FHL who has led the Thunderbirds as their captain to a record breaking season in 2018-19 in all sorts of different categories including most wins in a year and most points in a season. As of this writing, he leads the team in points (73), assists (52), and is one of three 20-goal scorers on the team as well.
“Honestly, I was shocked when I found out" Pietrantonio said in a statement. "All that came to mind [when I learned the news] were my teammates and how everyone has bought into their individual roles this season. I put a lot of pressure on myself to produce, but there are so many other guys doing so many great things, night in and night out. Without them I wouldn't be blessed with the opportunity of being considered for the award, let alone win it."
The Hamilton, Ontario native has become synonymous with Carolina Thunderbirds hockey. He is the only player in franchise history with more than 100 career points as a Thunderbird and leads the franchise in assists (89, as of this writing).
More so than Pietrantonio's on-ice performance is his off-ice contributions truly make him a staple of the Winston-Salem community.
"Josh to me is just as important off the ice than on it" Thunderbirds President/GM Scott Brand said. "Just last weekend he was a central focus of our cancer awareness night where he shaved his hair and donated it to Children With Hair Loss and proceeds as part of the fundraiser went over the target goal of $5,000. Combine that sort of selflessness with his incredible on-ice play and he is a no-doubt MVP of this league."
Pietrantonio has flourished under Thunderbirds coach (and FHL Coach of the Year) Andre Niec. This year Pietrantonio was listed as an assistant coach to Niec and the last three years of his hockey career have been spent playing for Niec.
"Andre's dedication to the game really energizes me as a hockey player and as a future coach" Pietrantonio said. "Working under him and learning from him has been huge for me and I wouldn't be the hockey player I am without guys like him guiding me along the way."
Pietrantonio's growth as a player and a leader has been evident. He's one of the pillars of the locker room that has made Carolina into a very consistent team night in and night out.
This is the first time in league history a Carolina Thunderbird has won an MVP award from the league. Additionally, Pietrantonio also was one of six players listed in the Forward of the Year award. It is his second appearance in as many years on that award list.
"To me, there are so many players on this team that could’ve also been given this [MVP] award" Pietrantonio continued. "Our job here is not done, we’re chasing a championship but this recognition is very special because it says something about how deep our team is and how close knit we are as a group. Our closeness and dedication to push each other everyday is what has allowed us to be so successful. I’m humbled by the recognition - but I just want everyone to know that without the 20 or so other guys in that room, it wouldn’t be possible. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but tomorrow our focus will be back on the most important prize - an FHL championship."
The Carolina Thunderbirds are proud members of the Federal Hockey League, now in its ninth season. The Thunderbirds are in their second season of play building on the success from last year with a regular season championship in 2018-19 and are looking forward to their second consecutive trip to the playoffs. The Thunderbirds have set an FHL record again at the gate, breaking their own attendance record with over 80,000 fans through the doors this season.