Halifax, Nova Scotia – The Thunderbirds announced this morning that Forward and NLL veteran, Ryan Benesch, has accepted the Halifax Thunderbirds franchise designation with a three-year term, pending league approval. Benesch, entering his 14th season in the National Lacrosse League, will be the first ever franchise player for the Thunderbirds.
“We are excited to have Ryan on board for the next three years as he is a player that has proven himself year after year,” said Owner and General Manager Curt Styres.
“Only nine other players in league history have reached the 1,000-point club and we have him locked in to be a Thunderbird. That’s exciting and should make the city of Halifax thrilled that he is ready to embark on this journey with us.”
The forward is one of the most creative scorers in the history of the game, ranking 10th all-time in assists (577) and points (1,010) and 11th in goals (433). He is two-time First Team All-Pro (2011 and 2015). In 2007, he earned NLL Rookie of the Year honors. Benesch feels that this this organization is the right place for him over the next few years in his career for various reasons, especially after chats with Thunderbirds leadership.
“I wanted to sign in Halifax simply because of the faith Curt and Mike showed to me by offering me the franchise tag and a three-year contract,” said Benesch. “As someone who’s been in the league as long as I have, it feels good to know they have faith in my abilities, and after some discussions with a few teammates this summer it seemed the right fit for me to stay with the team and try and build a winning culture in Halifax!”
Benesch’s experience in the league is something that Head Coach Mike Accursi believes will help the Thunderbirds offense to be successful in this inaugural season in Halifax.“Ryan is one of the most prolific scores in the history of this league,” said Head Coach Mike Accursi. “He’s one of the best lefties around and we are glad he chose The Halifax Thunderbirds for the next three years. Adding Ryan solidifies the left side of our offense as one of the best in the league.”
Calling Halifax his new home for the next three years is something Benesch is thrilled about. “I know they are die-hard sports fans out there, so hopefully we can put on a good show for them and get them excited about having a pro lacrosse team to get behind,” said Benesch.
The Halifax Thunderbirds, one of the newest expansion locations in the National Lacrosse League, brings a championship caliber organization and professional lacrosse to Nova Scotia. Season ticket memberships are now on sale at halifaxthunderbirds.com or by calling 902-334-2333 and include exclusive benefits such as special team access and VIP events. Fans can follow the team on social media @HFXThunderbirds to receive behind the scenes access as the team prepares to start its nine-game home season at the Scotiabank Centre this December.
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