Get ready, Halifax. The Thunderbirds will soon be flying into the city.
The unveiling of the new National Lacrosse League team name was held Saturday at the Halifax Convention Centre, in front of hundreds of local lacrosse teams, players and fans.
The yet-to-be-formed squad was announced last September, with the Rochester Knighthawks relocating to Halifax to become the league’s fifth Canadian franchise.
Graeme Hossack, who was named NLL Defensive Player of the Year and a First Team All-Pro in 2017-18, is currently with the Knighthawks and will play for Halifax in December. Hossack says he’s looking forward to the change in scenery and seeing what the city has to offer.
“Everyone here seems great, everyone’s excited for us to be out here, so I’m looking forward to bringing a good product, playing lacrosse and doing what I do,” Hossack said.
Kyle Jackson, originally from Sarnia, Ont., and also a member of the Knighthawks, also is excited to compete in front a different fan base.
“Every seat was filled here, people were standing, and the amount of excitement around Halifax right now with our lacrosse team, just wanting to know what the logo was, meeting the players, meeting the staff and just welcoming us in has been exciting,” said Jackson.
WATCH: National Lacrosse League comes to Halifax
Prior to the reveal, Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief for Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, Chief Morley Googoo, presented Thunderbirds owner Curt Styres with a medallion featuring the thunderbird.
Googoo said the thunderbird is rooted in Native American culture as a symbol of power, strength and nobility.
Halifax’s team will begin play during the 2019-20 season at Scotiabank Centre, with many of the players on the current Knighthawks’ roster.
The NLL has 11 franchises playing in the 2018-19 season including four Canadian teams in Toronto, Saskatoon, Calgary and Vancouver. The San Diego Seals and Philadelphia Wings began their inaugural season in December.
The Halifax Thunderbirds will begin play at the Scotiabank Centre in December 2019. They’re slated to be the city’s second professional sports team to have an inaugural season this year, with the HFX Wanderers soccer team kicking off their franchise in May.