Thunderbirds grab OHL alum Heitzner

Winston-Salem, NC – The Carolina Thunderbirds have signed another offensive weapon in Brechin, Ontario’s Kyle Heitzner. The 22-year-old joins Carolina for 2022-2023 with an extensive hockey resume.

“Kyle is going to bring a complete 200-foot game,” said Head Coach Garrett Rutledge. “He will immediately make an impact with his in-your-face style hockey. We’re thrilled to have a player of his caliber.”

Heitzner cut his teeth with three seasons of Ontario Hockey League (OHL) action, a league regarded as the top junior hockey league in the world. Before wrapping up his OHL career with the Mississauga Steelheads, Heitzner played 110 games with the Barrie Colts, tallied 20 points, and accumulated 79 penalty minutes.

“It’s really exciting for me, coming to a team that had a good run last year,” said Heitzner. “I’m really excited to meet my teammates and the fans in Carolina. I’ve heard that this fanbase is one of the best in the whole league.”

Prior to his work in the OHL, Heitzner spent the 2015-2016 season with the Cambridge Winter Hawks of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL). On the coaching staff that year was none other than Thunderbirds Head Coach Garrett Rutledge.

“I just remember Rutzy being a really positive guy and the kind of coach you want to play for,” Heitzner recalled. “I have no doubt that all the guys and myself included are going to give it all and leave it all on the ice for him.”

“He possesses skill hard work and toughness,” remarked Rutledge. “Kyle will be relied on to play big minutes for our group. I’m excited to have the opportunity to coach Heitz once again. The fans should be excited to see him at the Annex.”

In his final season of Junior hockey, Heitzner put up a whopping 29 goals, 43 assists, and 72 points wearing the ‘C’ with the Provincial Junior Hockey League (PJHL)’s Orillia Terriers.

Heitzner spent seven games in 2020-2021 with Sweden's Ange IK, where he scored four goals and two assists for six points.

Most recently, Heitzner scored four goals in a brief 14-game stint with the Quad City Storm of the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL), along with nine points in seven games for the Watertown Wolves.

Heitzner is expected to join the Thunderbirds as they open the 2022-2023 season in Port Huron. Puck drop on October 21st is set for 7:05pm from McMorran Arena.