Niec Suspension Reduced; Eligible To Coach This Weekend in Elmira

Winston-Salem, N.C. - The Carolina Thunderbirds received notice over the weekend that head coach Andre Niec will be allowed to return to the bench this weekend after the league reviewed the incident that led to his suspension.

The Thunderbirds did not formally appeal the suspension, rather a league review of the incident causing Niec's ejection was done internally in the FHL and the league concluded Niec's suspension should be reduced.

Niec was ejected from the Thunderbirds second game of the season on October 27th after protesting a referee's decision. He was initially handed a 6-game suspension by the league but upon review the decision has been changed to four games. With four games served already since the October 27th incident, Niec has served his suspension and will be eligible to coach this weekend in Elmira.

This news marks the end of interim head coach Karolina Huvarova's time as bench boss. Huvarova went 3-0-0-1 in the games Niec was suspended for. Huvarova is the winningest female coach in FHL and professional hockey history as it stands right now. Huvarova's 3-0-0-1 record is higher by wins and winning percentage over Nicole Kirnan's 2-3 record with the 1000 Islands Privateers back in 2013.

The Thunderbirds travel up to Elmira, NY to take on the Enforcers in their first home games of the 2018-19 season. Friday and Saturday night's games start at 7:05 P.M. at First Arena.


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 looking to build on the success of their inaugural season where the team 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 66,000 fans through the doors in their first season. Season and group tickets are on sale now by calling 336-774-GOAL (4625).