THUNDERBIRDS RE-SIGN PIETRANTONIO WITH PLAYER-COACH DESIGNATION
Winston-Salem, N.C. – The Carolina Thunderbirds today announced the re-signing of team captain Josh Pietrantonio ahead of the 2018-19 season.
Pietrantonio, 24, will also be signed as an assistant coach for next season under head coach Andre Niec.
“It’s an honor to be a part of this franchise” Pietrantonio said. “I love Winston-Salem and the support we get here is amazing. I’m very excited for what the future holds, and I feel very privileged to now be involved with the coaching staff to contribute to success both on and off the ice.”
Pietrantonio played in 46 games for the Thunderbirds last season totaling 19 goals and 37 assists for 56 points. He also registered five points (1G-4A) in two playoff games last season. He was honored by the FHL as one of their 2017-18 “forwards of the year”.
“I’m very excited for Josh as he takes this next step in his hockey career” Thunderbirds head coach Andre Niec said. “This guy definitely has what it takes to take over as a coach for some team years from now and we’re glad to have him back on our team. He’s a leader and a role model.”
Pietrantonio has played under Niec in Carolina last season and for the Berlin River Drivers in the 2016-17 season when Berlin lost in the FHL finals to the Danville Dashers. The history and chemistry the two have built up is something both men figure will work well for the Thunderbirds this season.
“This is my third year now playing for coach Niec and I’ve learned what he expects out of his players day-to-day” Pietrantonio said. “As a player, you are so fixated on your own personal play and I think me being vocal about a teammate’s play now as a coach, not just a captain, will be an adjustment for me. Some of the best coaches I have had were great at constructive criticism and it has paid dividends in my development.”
The Carolina Thunderbirds are proud members of the Federal Hockey League, now in its ninth season. Carolina will be starting its second season of play looking to build on the success of its inaugural season where the Thunderbirds 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 65,000 fans through the doors in their first season. Season and group tickets are on sale now by calling 336-774-GOAL (4625).