Thunderbirds Win 8 League Awards for 2018-19

Winston-Salem, NC - The Carolina Thunderbirds are excited to announce the FHL has awarded eight league honors to the team from players to executives on down.

As previously released, Josh Pietrantonio has been named the FHL MVP for the 2018-19 regular season. Pietrantonio was also on a list of seven players who were named Forwards of the Year. For Pietrantonio, it is his second consecutive appearance on the Forward of the Year list.

Also in a previous release is Andre Niec being named Coach of the Year. Andre is taking home his third league award after previously being named a Defenseman of the Year (2016) and Executive of the Year (2017). Andre has led the Thunderbirds to a record breaking season with the most wins, most points and, if their winning ways continue, the best point percentage in a year in league history.

The last award from a previous release is Christian Pavlas being named Goaltender of the Year. As of this writing, Pavlas leads the FHL in all four major goaltending categories. Wins (28), GAA (1.69), Save Percentage (.934) and Shutouts (5). His five shutouts are most by a goaltender in one year in league history and he is tied (with five games remaining) for the single-season record for wins in a year.

The other four awards the Carolina Thunderbirds received are as follows:

Mike Baker, Defenseman of the Year. Baker came to the Thunderbirds via a trade with the Port Huron Prowlers back in December. His excellent defensive record preceded him when the trade was announced and Baker has delivered on that reputation well with 21 points and a +24 rating in his 27 games played as a Thunderbird this season. Baker alongside notable blueliners like Karel Drahorad (FHL leader in goals among defensemen), Dominik Fejt and Stan Vlasov have spearheaded a defensive effort that sees Carolina at under two goals per game allowed 53 games into the 58-game season.

Zak DeBeaussaert, Broadcaster of the Year. In his first year in the Federal Hockey League, DeBeaussaert has shined for the organization on the mic and off. His energetic play-by-play and crisp analysis has given fans an insight into the game and their team in the moment that is second-to-none. DeBeaussaert was joined many times on the broadcast by Thunderbirds President/GM Scott Brand whose deep hockey knowledge and quick (sometimes dry) sense of humor make the two a fun listen on any hockey broadcast.

WTOB (Richard Miller, Bob Scarborough et al), Founders Award. Even more than DeBeaussaert's award for Broadcaster of the Year, the true "Voice of the Thunderbirds" goes beyond one man and to the entire organization of WTOB radio in Winston-Salem. Their dedication not only to Thunderbirds-centric programming but to the Federal Hockey League as a whole with promotion and dedicated air time discussion made them a fine choice for a league award as an outstanding contributor to the growth of the Federal Hockey League.

Regular season champions, Carolina Thunderbirds. Clinched back on March 8th with a win over the Elmira Enforcers, the Thunderbirds have won their first regular season championship in franchise history and will be the FHL's #1 seed in the 2019 playoffs. Their current point total of 139 is the highest in league history and with five more points will be the league's best team in terms of point percentage in history.

NOTE: Barry Soskin, majority owner of the Carolina Thunderbirds and two other teams also received Executive of the Year, under the Federal Hockey League moniker.


The Carolina Thunderbirds are proud members of the Federal Hockey League, now in its ninth season. The Thunderbirds are in their second season of play building on the success from last year with a regular season championship in 2018-19 and are looking forward to their second consecutive trip to the playoffs. The Thunderbirds have set an FHL record again at the gate, breaking their own attendance record with over 80,000 fans through the doors this season.