2022-2023 NLL Outlook – Halifax Thunderbirds

Gary Groob
All Lacrosse All The Time  – A Division of Edge of Philly Sports Network

2021-2022 Record:

The Halifax Thunderbirds went 11-7 last season.  They finished third in the East Division, losing to the Toronto Rock in the first round of the playoffs in overtime.

Key Losses:

Rhys Duch, Shawn Evans, David Brock, Stephen Keogh, Aaron Bold, and Scott Campbell. 

Also prior to the end of last season: Kyle Jackson, Stephan Leblanc. 

Key Additions:

Ryan Benesch, Randy Staats, Bo Bowhunter.

No team in the NLL had a harder time last year making it through the season than Halifax with the COVID restrictions. At points there were very strict capacity limits but also two of their home games had to be moved to Hamilton, Ontario with no fans in attendance.

Offense:

The additions of Randy Staats, and Ryan Benesch should compliment the already potent lineup of Clarke Petterson, Cody Jamieson, Chris Boushy, and Eric Fannell.  With the status of Dawson Theede, and Austin Shanks up in the air due to outside commitments, Staats, and Benesch should fit in nicely.

Defense:

With a veteran defensive crew of Luc Magnan, Graeme Hossack, Nonkon Thompson, Trevor Smyth, and Tyson Bell, as well as the additions of Oakley Thomas, and Max Wilson, this will be a difficult group to get sustained offensive chances.

The transition game will be a big part of the Thunderbirds attack.  Ryan Terefenko and Colton Armstrong will drive defenses crazy.  Add Tyson Bell to the mix and expect a lot of chaos at the opposing bench.

Faceoffs:

Jake Withers is one of the premier faceoff men in the game.  With a healthy Withers taking the draws, Halifax should get their fair share of possessions in the game, helping to control the game.

Goaltending:

Warren Hill is back with the Thunderbirds with Drew Hutchison as his backup. Hill will get the majority of the minutes, with Hutchison getting acclimated as the season goes on.

The Thunderbirds looked like one of the favorites to win the title before the pandemic and their mantra for last year was “unfinished business”. For the first half of the season they looked poised to take care of that business but tapered off in the second half. While they were unable to reach their goal for last season, could this be their year?

Gary Groob
Gary Groob

Gary Groob has been involved with Lacrosse for the majority of his life, whether playing, coaching, or covering the sport for the media.

An avid fan, with a real drive about helping to “grow the game”, Gary became part of podcasts about the game 10 years ago. Through the podcasts, Mr. Groob had an opportunity to write about lacrosse, and the rest as they say, is history.

Through many miles (flying and driving) Gary has made inroads with the National Lacrosse League, Major Series Lacrosse League, the Ontario Lacrosse Association, as well as the Arena Lacrosse League, covering the leagues, their teams, and players, working for, and in concert with all of them.

In the year 2020, Mr. Groob was made the media person for the Arena Lacrosse League, voted onto the board of directors of the Brampton Excelsiors Lacrosse Club, as well as being made administrator of the Lacrosse page “Global Lacrosse” with a membership of 9000 members in over 90 Countries. Gary was also made an administrator of Lacrosse History Past Present and Future in 2022.

Mr. Groob co-hosts a weekly Lacrosse show on Spanglish Sports World, and ZingoTV channel 250, as well as writes a weekly lacrosse column for La Portada Canada News (both in print, and online).

Mr. Groob also hosts a Lacrosse talk show and podcast for The Edge of Philly Sports Network, seen live Sunday nights at 9pm (ET), and archived on the Edge of Philly YouTube page, as well as Spotify.

Mr. Groob’s other sports interests include Hockey, Football, Boxing, Wrestling, and Baseball, competing competitively in Boxing and Wrestling for many years.

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