The Halifax Thunderbirds were welcomed by a roaring crowd during their exhibition over the weekend.
The team played itself Friday in an intrasquad match, marking its debut in the National Lacrosse League.
Fans filled Scotiabank Centre and jumped out of their seats with every goal as the players worked to give the city a taste of what professional lacrosse is.
The Thunderbirds were split into two teams: orange and purple. After four quarters of intense play, the game ended with Team Purple winning 12-11 after trailing 4-1 after the first 15 minutes.
Dana Jackson, Thunderbirds communication co-ordinator, says that more than 6,000 people filled the arena to watch the game.
The crowd was made up of various local lacrosse teams, children and their parents, and people of all ages.
Bryson Knockwood, 21, an Indian Brook resident, says he was excited about having a professional team in his city.
“As someone who’s played for a big portion of their life, going and supporting our home city is a dream come true,” says Knockwood.
He says it means a lot that the team works to connect to the sport’s cultural roots, saying it’s much more than a sport to the Indigenous community.
“The owner of the Thunderbirds has made it a point to have these traditional values passed on here in Halifax, where the traditions may not be as strong as they would be in, say, the Mohawk Nation,” says Knockwood.
“In today’s world where sports are the pinnacle of a lot of people’s lives, it’s great to have traditions and culture represented by the players, fans and other organizations.”
Fans showed their excitement on their sleeves — and heads — buying jerseys, sweaters, shirts and hats.
Jody Wagstaff is the Thunderbirds resident DJ under the stage name DJ Scout. His job is to keep the music playing through every minute of action.
The DJ is just one aspect of the game’s entertainment. The Thunderbirds’ dance team, made up of 15 members, can be found around the arena during play, or on the field as a halftime show.
There’s also the Thunderbirds mascot, who’s currently unnamed.
The team is preparing for its Dec. 7 home opener against the New York Riptide at the Scotiabank Centre.
About the author
Ellery is a fourth year student in the BJH program at King's. She is extremely passionate about sports and photography.