WINSTON-SALEM HOCKEY – Carolina Thunderbirds Expansion Draft

(Last Updated On: May 16, 2017)

thunderbirds_dribbble_mockup_small(Winston-Salem, NC) The Carolina Thunderbirds of the Federal Hockey League participated in the 2017 expansion draft today and selected twelve (12) players as the team prepares for the 2017-18 season. President and General Manager, Scott Brand selected seven (7) forwards and five (5) defensemen from the available list of unprotected veterans. The Thunderbirds were only allowed to select up to 3 players from one team and will now work on hiring their head coach and director of hockey operations along with filling in the final 18-man roster. Brand added, “I am excited about our selections and believe we have the nucleus of a winning team. We used some of our hockey sources to help us, and we will continue to do so as we search for a starting goaltender. Being in the hockey world for over thirty years, I’ve met some knowledgeable people, so I am confident we will be okay in the net.”

2017 Carolina Thunderbirds Expansion 12-Man Roster

Nate O’Brien     Forward    23 years old   Shoots: L              6’0          185lbs.  Londonderry, NH (US Citizen)

                Watertown Wolves         41 games played              2 goals   11 assist 13 points  +17   32 PIM

                Last year was 1st season as a professional player

Ryan Wilkinson Defense    26 years old   Shoots: R             5’10        180lbs.  St. Albert, AB (Canadian)

                Danbury Titians                 11 games played              0 goals    11 assist  8 points   +3     2 PIM

                Played college hockey at SUNY-Fredonia and for the Huntsville Havoc in the SPHL

Dan Chang          Forward   26 years old    Shoots: R             5’11        185lbs.  Billings, MT (US Citizen)

                Port Huron Prowlers       29 games played              6 goals    4 assist  10 points   -3     58 PIM

                Played for Danbury, Berlin and Watertown in the FHL during 2016-17

Rob Belger          Defense   25 years old    Shoots: R             6’2      200lbs. Yorktown Heights, NY (US Citizen)

                Danbury Titians                 14 games played              1 goal       3 assist   4 points  +6    9 PIM

                Played college hockey at Nicholas College, once finished joined Danbury

PJ Hefferin         Forward  26 years old     Shoots: R             6’1      205lbs. Boynton Beach, FL  (US Citizen)

                Danbury Titians                 10 games played              4 goals  0 assist   4 points + 5    14 PIM

                Joined the Titians after playing college at Lebanon Valley College

Scott Witmyer  Forward  26 years old     Shoots: L              5’11   160lbs. Marysville, PA (US Citizen)

                Port Huron Prowlers       35 games played              12 goals  17 assist  29 points  -16  39 PIM

                Played in the Eastern Junior Hockey League and U-Mass Boston. Played for the Knoxville Ice

Bears last season along with Port Huron.

Tom Kilgore       Forward  25 years old     Shoots: L              6’0     194lbs. Pickney, MI (US Citizen)

                Port Huron Prowlers       51 games played              17 goals  19 assist  36 points  -14   53 PIM

                Graduated from Oakland University and named to the Great Lakes Collegiate Hockey League in

2013-14 all defensive team.

Brand Fehd        Defense  26 years old     Shoots: R             5’11   185lbs.  Gilbert, AZ (US Citizen)

                Berlin River Drivers          24 games played              5 goals 13 assist  18 points  -12  25 PIM

                Played 34 games in the Southern Professional Hockey League during the 2016-17 season.

Justin Apcar Blaszak Defense 29 years old Shoots: R        5’11  185lbs  Valley Village, CA

                Watertown Wolves         55 games played              2 goals  18 assist  20 points  -12  37 PIM

                Played for the Danbury Titans in 2015-16.

Eric Witzel          Forward  24 years old     Shoots: L              5’11  185lbs.  Ottawa, ONT (Canadian)

                Danville Dashers               22 games played              9 goals  15 assist  24 points  +10  29 PIM

                Played with Danville, Huntsville (SPHL) and Peoria (SPHL) in the 2016-17 season.

Vojtech Zemlicka Forward  22 years old  Shoots L              5’11 185lbs. Praque, CZ (Czech)

                Berlin River Drivers          43 games played              10 goals  15 assist 25 points  +21  22 PIM

                Last season was his season as a professional.

Kyle Powell        Forward  23 years old   Shoots: R               5’11  185lbs.  Ajax, ONT (Canadian)

                Watertown Wolves         52 games played              9 goals  26 assist  35 points  -21  26 PIM

                2nd year veteran, played with Danbury during the 2015-16 season

The Thunderbirds look to hire a head coach within the next few weeks along with announcing the 2017-18 season schedule. Season tickets are on sale for the 2017-18 season and start as low as $55. Advertising and promotional opportunities are also available for the 2017-18 season. For additional information please contact them at 336.774.4625 or

The Thunderbirds begin play in the Federal Hockey League, which celebrates its 7th season, in 2017-18.