Thunderbirds bring lacrosse to Halifax

New professional lacrosse team opens the season with an intrasquad matchup

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 Halifax Thunderbirds made their season debut in an intrasquad matchup Friday.   Ellery Platts

 

Kyle Jackson (right) scored two of his team’s 11 goals.   Ellery Platts

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.

The Scotiabank Centre was filled with fans for the professional lacrosse debut in Halifax.   Ellery Platts

Dana Jackson, Thunderbirds communication co-ordinator, says that more than 6,000 people filled the arena to watch the game.

Some fans made sure to capture the brand new team.   Ellery Platts

 

Young fans came out for the game.   Ellery Platts

The crowd was made up of various local lacrosse teams, children and their parents, and people of all ages.

Bryson Knockwood (left) and his cousin Keegan Christmas (right) both play lacrosse.   Ellery Platts

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.”

The merchandise counter saw a steady stream of business throughout the night.   Ellery Platts

 

Fans showed off their Thunderbird pride through jerseys, sweaters, shirts and hats.   Ellery Platts

Fans showed their excitement on their sleeves — and heads — buying jerseys, sweaters, shirts and hats.

DJ Scout spent the night taking song requests online and playing music to keep the crowd entertained.   Ellery Platts

 

Lacrosse games are known for being events rather than just games.   Ellery Platts

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 Thunderbirds’ dance team performs during the game around the arena and on the field for a short halftime show.   Ellery Platts

 

The Halifax Thunderbirds mascot is a large purple and orange bird with a pair of goggles and his own team jersey.   Ellery Platts

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.

Stephen Keogh (centre) keeps the ball safe from defender James Barclay (left) during the intrasquad match.   Ellery Platts

The team is preparing for its Dec. 7 home opener against the New York Riptide at the Scotiabank Centre.

Ellery Platts

Ellery Platts

Ellery is a fourth year student in the BJH program at King's. She is extremely passionate about sports and photography.

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2 comments

  1. As a long time Calgary Roughnecks fan…welcome to the NLL, Halifax. I wish you all the best, and I hope the people of Halifax understand and appreciate these players. I’ve watched live sporting events for the last 50 years. Over 2000 games of all sports. Professional and Amateur. The NLL is the best product for your dollar…hands down. Thanks Ellery, for capturing some of the fun that Thunderbird fans will have this season.

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