2023-24 NLL Preview: Can the Thunderbirds Find Playoff Success?


Ryan Benesch announced that this will be his final professional season.

With the 2023-24 National Lacrosse League season set to begin Dec. 1-2, USA Lacrosse Magazine is going team by team in the days leading up to the opener. Today, we take a deep dive on the Halifax Thunderbirds.


2022-23 Record: 10-8
Head Coach: Mike Accursi, fourth season
 Assistants: Roger Chrysler, Andrew Suitor, Stew Monture

Additions: Cole Kirst, F (draft)
Departures: Chris Boushy, F (Toronto)


Can the Thunderbirds finally translate regular season success into playoff victories?

Halifax has been a consistent contender ever since the franchise moved to the Maritimes. The Thunderbirds were first in the conference when the league shut down during Halifax’s inaugural campaign, the COVID-shortened 2020 season. They’ve made the playoffs in each of the two years since, finishing third behind Buffalo and Toronto both times.

But they are still waiting on that elusive playoff run. Halifax has fallen to Toronto in the first round of the playoffs the last two seasons, including a 14-13 overtime heartbreaker in 2022.

Curt Styres and the group clearly believe the team is close given the lack of roster alterations this offseason. Six players who notched at least 50 points last season are back, led by the team’s main addition last summer, Randy Staats.

Defensively, the top 10 loose ball contributors remain in the fold, as well as the top 12 in caused turnovers. If you liked last year’s team, you’ll like this one, too.

Patience won’t last forever, and the Thunderbirds’ list of competitors has increased with the NLL’s move to unified standings. Can this be the year the T-Birds finally get over the hump?

Can Cody Jamieson continue the momentum from a strong summer?

The Thunderbirds’ captain is still producing at 36 years old, years after leading the then-Rochester Knighthawks in scoring every season during a three-peat championship run.

Just this summer, Cody Jamieson was critical for the Six Nations Arrows, helping them win their seventh Mann Cup in the Canadian Senior A circuit. He tied Lyle Thompson for the most goals in the five-game series with eight and led all players with 14 assists.

That was a positive sign for the T-Birds given his production has taken an understandably slight dip in the last two NLL seasons.

Unlike his teammate Ryan Benesch, who announced this will be his final season, Jamieson has not publicly stated when he plans to hang them up. But time is clearly running out for one of the game’s all-time greats to secure a fourth title and further cement his NLL legacy.

Can he add one final chapter by bringing the NLL Cup to Halifax for the first time?


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