Thunderbirds sign Clouston, Ford, Cardinal ahead of road trip

Winston-Salem, NC—The Carolina Thunderbirds announced on Wednesday afternoon that they have signed forwards Tommy Cardinal and Gus Ford, in addition to defenseman Vaughn Clouston. Cardinal, of St-Etienne-de-Lauzon, is in his second stint with Carolina.

“Tommy’s one of those guys that he’s an asset to our team- he’s a tough player, he’s hard to play against, he plays in your face hockey,” said Thunderbirds Head Coach Garrett Rutledge. “It’s nice, as a coach, to look down the bench and see that kind of spitfire guy to send out there and turn the tide.”

Cardinal played 18 games with the Thunderbirds in 2021, notching three points and 24 penalty minutes. Before breaking into pro hockey, Cardinal played over 100 games for the Shawinigan Cataractes and Val-d'Or Foreurs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).

Kalib “Gus” Ford comes to Carolina after a brief stint with the Macon Mayhem of the SPHL. Through five games, Ford tallied a goal and an assist with the Mayhem.

Ford is a player with whom Garrett Rutledge is already familiar. “I coached junior hockey against him. He’s a very highly skilled player, it’s going to be fun to watch him play. He’s got game-breaking ability,” said Rutledge.

After playing short on defensemen the past week, the Thunderbirds also brought in Vaughn Clouston, whose 79 FPHL games make him the most experienced of the bunch at this level. “It’s good to have a steady anchor on the back end and a calming presence,” said Coach Rutledge. “We welcome having him on the back end and helping all of the younger guys.”

Cardinal, Ford and Clousten will enter the Thunderbirds lineup this Friday night in Columbus. Puck drop against the River Dragons is slated for 7:30