Oakes returns for 2nd full season of Thunderbirds hockey

Winston-Salem, NC – The Carolina Thunderbirds have signed Cody Oakes for the 2022-2023 season. Oakes has played parts of four campaigns in the FPHL, and in 2021-2022 logged a career-high 48 appearances.

“How can you not smile at this one?” remarked Head Coach Garrett Rutledge. “Number 19 always makes everyone around him a better person.”

Oakes made his Thunderbirds debut with a single game back in October of 2018. After brief stints in Port Huron, Danville, and Columbus, Oakes became a regular in Carolina this past fall. He became an offensive catalyst on the blueline, using his blazing speed to open up the ice and force opponents into difficult situations.

“Man, oh man, have I been ready for this season,” said Oakes. “We have some of the boys from last year and I think during the off-season we added a lot of good pieces to the team where it should take us to the next level and compete for a cup.”

Oakes finished the season with eight goals and four assists for 12 points, fourth among defensemen. His shot production was nearly unmatched by his fellow blueliners, as Oakes registered 94 shots on goal in the regular season. Only Jiri Pestuka found the net more times, leading Thunderbird defensemen with 128 shots on goal.

“More importantly,” Oakes continued, “I’m excited to get back in front of the best fan base in the league. The nest is home to me, and I wouldn’t want to be playing anywhere else.”

After growing up in Colorado and playing in the Western States Hockey League, Oakes and his family relocated to Winston-Salem. He has been a sort of adopted native son ever since.

“Hometown talent is always great to have on our team,” continued Rutledge. “He’s a fan favorite in Winston-Salem, and we’re expecting big things from Cody as a leader on our team. His speed is electric and I’m excited to watch him grow as a player this season.”

Oakes’ Thunderbird debut came against the Port Huron Prowlers in October of 2018. In October of 2022, he and the Thunderbirds travel to Port Huron to open the season. Puck drop on October 21st is set for 7:05pm.