Thunderbirds add former WHL first-rounder Polivka

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.- The Carolina Thunderbirds, a proud member of the Federal Prospects Hockey League and 2019 Commissioner’s Cup champions, announced Thursday that Czech goalie Patrik Polivka has signed with the team.

“We were looking for a goaltender and Patrik came along and he has experience from the WHL and the top leagues in Europe and I think he can make a difference for our team and help us compete for another Commissioner’s Cup,” said head coach Andre Niec.

Polivka was the first-round pick of the WHL’s Victoria Royals in 2012 and played 96 games in two seasons with the team.

“This is a big signing for us, to bring in a goalie of Patrik’s caliber is huge for our organization and this helps us a bunch as we make a run for a second championship,” said general manager Jimmy Milliken.

After bouncing up and down in the Czech leagues for two seasons, Polivka settled with HC Slavia Praha and logged a career best save percentage (.923) in 2017.

Polivka played another season with Slavia Praha before having a banner year with Draci Sumperk in 2018-2019, notching a career best goals against average (2.32).

Carolina will open the season on the road at Elmira on October 25.

The Thunderbirds home-opener is November 8 against Danbury. Opening night will feature a rally towel giveaway for all fans in attendance, the championship banner raising, and the team will wear commemorative jerseys that will be auctioned off live after the game.

Full-season, half-season and 10-game rivalry game ticket packs are on sale now. On Tuesday, Sept. 3 eight-game packs will go on sale. Single-game and group tickets will go on sale Monday, Sept. 16.

To get your tickets, call the Thunderbirds front office at (336) 774-4625.


The Carolina Thunderbirds are proud members of the Federal Hockey League, now in its tenth season. The Thunderbirds are looking forward to their third season of play and one where they hope to defend their 2018-19 Commissioner's Cup Championship. The Thunderbirds welcomed in nearly 95,000 people to their home, the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Annex, during their championship run shattering their old team attendance record in the process. Season tickets for 2019-2020 are available now by calling 336-774-4625.