National Lacrosse League Announces 2019-2020 Regular Season Award Winners
Halifax, Nova Scotia- The National Lacrosse League announced this evening the recipients of the 2019-2020 regular season awards. The Thunderbirds had many award winners for their exceptional inaugural campaign in Halifax. Graeme Hossack took home the Defensive Player of the Year award for the third consecutive year. President and CEO John Catalano won the Executive of the Year award. Hossack was named to the All Pro First team, Cody Jamieson was named to the All Pro Second team and Clarke Petterson was named to the All Rookie team.
Graeme Hossack, Defensive Player of the Year, All Pro First Team
In addition to being named the NLL's Defensive Player of the Year, Hossack was also named to the All Pro First team. In just 12 games Hossack tallied 9 goals and 9 assists gathering 107 loose balls and logged a staggering 27:32 minutes of floor time, second only to Kiel Matisz of the Philadelphia Wings.
"I am excited to continue growing the game on the East coast," said Hossack. "Playing in front of our Halifax fans in The Nest seems to bring out our best. We had a no quit mentality in each game. This hopefully taught our fans to never leave a game early."
His presence on the floor is noticeable to everyone in the building, running through offensive players with ease, pushing the floor in transition, and scoring goals not typically seen by defensive players.
"Graeme has all the natural talent in the world to win this award year after year," said fellow defenceman Scott Campbell. "But what is awesome to see is he also has an unmatched work ethic to continue to get better on and off the floor every day when he is already the best defender in the league. Just when you think he can't elevate his game any further he does and that's what has been so fun to watch over the years."
"These are well deserved awards for Graeme," said Styres. "He is the hardest working player in the whole league and every game he gets better. As players are around him, they get better by watching him and seeing his work ethic. In doing so, the guys have to step it up just to keep in the same room as him."
"Graeme is the best defensive player in this league hands down," said Head Coach Mike Accursi. "It's a different level and is only going to get better. He's positioning, intelligence and strength cannot be matched."
John Catalano, Executive of the Year
Catalano played an instrumental role in what was a successful inaugural season for the Halifax Thunderbirds franchise, both on and off the floor. His guidance and expertise in sales, digital and traditional marketing, game presentation, broadcast, and community relations have landed Halifax on the map as one of the newest staple franchises in the league.
"It is truly an honour to be recognized by the league," said Catalano. "This award belongs to everyone in our Thunderbirds Family. I have to thank so many people starting with our owner Curt Styres who provides us with the tools and resources we need to succeed. Our management team, Tracy Johnson, Gaylene Powless, Charlie Ragusa and Avery Light, for their leadership and support that has helped guide us to where we are today."
"I need to thank our entire staff for all their hard work and dedication. To our players and coaches for always being available to help us grow the game in Halifax, and most importantly to the city of Halifax for the unbelievable support you have shown us in this first season. We can't wait to get back on the floor."
Upon joining the Thunderbirds in August of 2019, Catalano provided nearly 20 years of NLL experience and knowledge to a young staff in a new market, hungry for a professional organization, and one of the fastest growing sports in North America. With the immediate hiring of key top executives and bolstering the sales staff, the Thunderbirds have finished their shortened inaugural season in the top half of the league in attendance in just six home games.
"You never know how much work is done behind the scenes until you spend one night and see what's done and the work that goes into that a lot of people don't see that," said Styres. It's very good to see the hard work and knowledgeable person get that from our organization."
Complementing the focus of sales, the addition of high-end digital content from both the broadcast team and video department, along with an in-depth marketing strategy, has given the team a year over year increase of over 450% across all team social media channels. The Thunderbirds rank as one of the highest engaged teams month to month across Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
"It takes a village to raise a family, and I think John has done an exceptionally good job of creating a great family atmosphere in the office and with the staff in Halifax," said Accursi. "He leads by example, he's the guy running around doing the little things before the game helping support his staff. I couldn't be happier and prouder of John on this award, it is very well deserved."
Cody Jamieson, All Pro Second Team
When you think of Cody Jamieson, it's hard not to think of the gritty style of play the NLL veteran brings to the table, and all of the iconic moments in his 10-year career. The backbone of three NLL Championships and the lifeblood of an organization that is fueled on his ability to lead an offense in any scenario, Cody Jamieson has solidified himself into the conversation of one of the best lacrosse players of all-time.
"Individual awards are great and all, but it's honestly a reflection of our teams' success," said Jamieson. "For me personally, our offensive unit. We had a great year with everyone contributing. Everyone on the floor was dangerous and I think that played a huge role in our teams' success."
The dynamic forward has accumulated 763 regular season points, 108 of which coming in an MVP season in 2014, capping off an improbable three-peat run. His 85 points in 18 postseason games speak volumes to his ability to show up in big moments, as any Syracuse Orange fan would tell you. His game winning goal in the 2009 NCAA National Championship secured the Orange their 11th title, in one of the most thrilling finishes in championship game history.
"Cody's leadership is an understatement on our team," said Accursi. "He leads by example, he says the right things, he does the right things. He's the guy that in a tight game I know I can tap him on the shoulder and say Cody we need this. With the young team that we have I don't think our guys could have a better role model for growing the game and playing the game the right way. He's the guy that I think is a huge important asset for our team."
The transformation of #88 is much more than just his play on the floor, but in the words and actions in the locker room, the huddle, at practice and on game days. Following the footsteps of his former college teammate and best friend, Sid Smith, Jamieson has embraced and excelled in his leadership role with the franchise. You will be hard-pressed to find a former teammate who would not proclaim the impact that Cody Jamieson has had on any given game and, more importantly on their career.
"This award was well deserved for Cody," said Styres. "He led the Thunderbirds to the top of the division. I can't say enough about what he does for the game and for the team itself."
Clarke Petterson, All Rookie Team
After being drafted in the first round (fifth overall) in the 2019 Entry Draft, Petterson had a standout rookie season, earning him a spot on the All Rookie team. In just 11 games Petterson tied New York's Tyson Gibson, for second place in rookie goals with 16. He finished the season with 38 points, good for fourth overall amongst all rookies. Petterson earned NLL Rookie of the Week honours for his 3+2 performance against the Knighthawks on December 21.
"It feels great to be selected to the All Rookie team," said Petterson. "I know this never would have been possible without the leadership of my teammates on the Thunderbirds. Players like Cody, Ryan and Stephen make playing offence a lot easier."
"Petterson is an elite offensive player," said Accursi. "He's always been one of the top offensive players in his age group. He went down to Cornell and had an outstanding NCAA career. In Junior A he was always one of the top offensive players so by adding him to our team to our already good right side we just got a whole lot better."
"He's one of the players we wanted at the draft, and we got him," said Styres. "He lived up to the expectations that we have seen of him to help lead the Thunderbirds."
Season Ticket Member packages are on sale for the 2020-21 season. Call or text the Halifax Thunderbirds Ticketing Department at 902-334-2333. Fans can also email [email protected] for customer support.
Keep up to date at halifaxthunderbirds.com or follow the team on all their social media platforms @HFXThunderbirds. Season Ticket Member packages for the 2020-21 season are available online at halifaxthunderbirds.com or by calling or texting 902-334-2333. Get on board today to receive exclusive benefits and watch the fastest, most exciting, game on two feet.
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National Lacrosse League Stories from June 30, 2020
- Tyson Gibson Named NLL Rookie of the Year to Lead Riptide Award Winners - New York Riptide
- Doug Jamieson Named NLL Goaltender of the Year - New England Black Wolves
- National Lacrosse League Announces 2019-2020 Regular Season Award Winners - Halifax Thunderbirds
- Shayne Jackson Honored as 2019-20 NLL MVP, Mike Poulin and Lyle Thompson Win End of Season Awards - Georgia Swarm
- Rees Named to 2019-20 NLL All-Rookie Team - Rochester Knighthawks
- Knighthawks' Rybczynski Named National Lacrosse League's Media Member of the Year - Rochester Knighthawks
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