Thunderbirds sign OJHL standout Cavaliere
Winston-Salem, NC – The Carolina Thunderbirds have added to their stable of goaltenders with the signing of Mario Cavaliere. The Mississauga, Ontario native joins the Thunderbirds after a season with Ange IK in Sweden’s Division 2.
“He’s a huge pick up for us going into this season,” said Head Coach Garrett Rutledge. “Mario is a veteran goalie and has played in very good leagues throughout his career.”
In 2021-2022, Cavaliere secured 17 victories for Ange IK while posting a 2.63 GAA and .913 SV%.
“Honestly, I’m just super excited,” said Cavaliere. “Not only to get down there and meet all of the players, but everyone involved. People take so much pride in this team, and I can’t wait to play in front of these fans.”
Before turning pro, Cavaliere was a standout goaltender in the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) and British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL). Splitting time between the Burlington Cougars and Georgetown Raiders, Cavaliere finished his OJHL days with a career 2.35 GAA, .924 SV%, and an impressive 46-17-4 record.
Cavaliere would be traded into the BCHL midway through the 2017-2018 season, going on to win seven playoff games and post a .912 SV% with the Surrey Eagles. After his junior career, Cavaliere played two seasons of USports with Brock University.
“He has the ability to carry a team on his back,” Rutledge continued. “I have coached against him in previous years and, trust me, it was not fun knowing that we had to play him eight times a season.”
The 25-year-old goaltender is no stranger to playing heavy minutes, logging 67 games in just two OJHL seasons.
“It’s one of those things where the more you play, the more comfortable you feel,” said Cavaliere. “You start to build that trust where guys really know you’ll be there for them and they’ll be there for you.”
Upon joining the team in October, Cavaliere will become just the third Canadian goaltender to pull on a Thunderbirds sweater, following Cary Byron and fellow OJHL alum Evan Morrison.
The Carolina Thunderbirds open their season on October 21st in Port Huron. The following week, they open their home schedule on October 29th against Delaware.
Mario is a outstanding person and his passionate to win and be a leader on and off the ice for the Thunderbirds. He will definitely bring a calming affect to our our team when you see him defending our net.