Thunderbirds sign Joe Pace Jr., Justin Barr to celebrity contracts in Biloxi

Biloxi, MS – The Carolina Thunderbirds have added Joe Pace Jr. and Justin Barr to their roster ahead of Friday night’s game against the Columbus River Dragons. Both Pace and Barr have been heavily involved in the return of hockey to the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Pace has served as the franchise’s C.O.O. since mid-summer, laying much of the groundwork for Biloxi Pro Hockey’s expansion efforts. Pace is one of the most well-known names in the FPHL, having played in 450 games in the league since 2011. In that time, Pace amassed 1,496 penalty minutes. In 2014 and 2018, Pace was named the FPHL’s (then FHL) “Most Penalized Player of the Year.” This will be his first time pulling on a Thunderbirds sweater, though Pace did play seven games for the Winston-Salem Polar Twins in 2004-05.

During his time in the league, Pace would go on to win two Commissioner’s Cup Championships. The first came in 2014 with the Danville Dashers, and the second in 2016 with the Port Huron Prowlers. Pace spent three years as the Prowlers’ Captain and Player-Assistant coach before taking over as Player-Coach and General Manager in 2018.

Justin Barr currently serves as the Community Relations Manager for Biloxi Pro Hockey. In addition to his duties with the team, Barr also serves as a firefighter with the Long Beach Fire Department. In a pro hockey career that spanned more than 10 years, Barr won the AAHL’s Davidson Cup twice. In 75 FHL games split between Danville and Cape Cod, Barr amassed 90 points and 92 penalty minutes. Barr also skated in a number of ECHL and SPHL games.

For Friday night’s game against Columbus, Pace will wear #4, and Barr #9. Puck drop from the Mississippi Coast Coliseum is set for 7:05 CST, 8:05 EST.