Thunderbirds Final Roster Set For Road Opener

Winston-Salem, NC – The Carolina Thunderbrids have filled out the full roster for the upcoming weekend series against the Danville Dashers. Five additional players have been signed to bring the roster total up to the required 18. Forwards Dalton Jay, Yuto Osawa, Jiri Pestuka, Jay Croop, and Michael Bunn have all signed on the dotted line to play for the Thunderbirds.

Jay, a forward, hails from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and during last season with the Danbury Titans had 31 goals and 39 assists. Osawa, from Tomakomai Japan, plays for the Japanese National Ice Hockey Team, and last season with the Berlin River Drivers had 14 goals and 33 assists in 44 games played. Pestuka, a native of the Czech Republic, notched 57 points in 49 games with Berlin last season. Croop, an American, will play his 3rd year in the Federal Hockey League. Bunn, who is from Raleigh, NC, Most recently appeared in a pair of games for the Columbus Cottonmouths.

Head Coach Andre Niec commented on the signings; “Jiri (Pestuka) I know very well from Berlin, he has a lot of skill with a strong physical game, he’ll be a fan favorite this year I think. Yuto (Osawa) plays at a high level with a lot of speed, he’ll be a weapon for us offensively this season. Dalton (Jay) is one of the fastest guys in the league if not the fastest, getting him in the dispersal draft was huge for us, he’ll be a game changer. (Jay) Croop is a young guy with a good motor, we think we’ll be able to develop his skills well this season. Michael (Bunn) was a great find for us, having that kind of talent right in our backyard. During free agent camp he played his heart out and worked so hard, if he keeps it up during the season he’ll be a great asset to us.”

The Thunderbirds roster is as follows for the upcoming weekend against the Dashers;

Goaltenders- Kelly Curl and Chris Paulin

Defensemen- Bryan Dallaire, Daniel Chang, Seth Gustin, Stanislav Vlasov, Justin Blaszak, and Vojtech Zemlicka

Forwards- Dalton Jay, Josh Pietrantonio, Michael Bunn, Jiri Pestuka, Dominik Synek, Tom Kilgore, Jay Croop, Rick O’Connor, Yuto Osawa, and CJ Blaska.

Thursday, October 26 the Thunderbirds will be at Mac & Nellis on Country Club Road in Winston-Salem from 5:30 to 8 pm for the Season Ticket Holder Pick-Up Party. Fans will be able to pick up their tickets for the 2017-2018 season as well as meet and greet the team and coach. Mac & Nellis is offering beverage and food specials for Thunderbirds fans.

If you have not yet purchased your season ticket package visit , call or email Cat at 336-774-8895 or

The Thunderbirds home opening weekend is Friday and Saturday November 3 and 4 at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Annex. Tickets are still available at the fairgrounds box office or online at