Thunderbirds Name Mike Accursi Head Coach
Halifax, Nova Scotia - The Halifax Thunderbirds today introduced Mike Accursi as the new Head Coach of the City's new National Lacrosse League franchise. Accursi is a highly respected former professional lacrosse player and coach.
"We are extremely excited to promote Mike Accursi in such an exciting time in our franchise," said Owner and General Manager Curt Styres. "I believe his leadership and experience both as a coach and player will lead this inaugural team in Halifax to success."
Mike Accursi enters his first season as the head coach of the Halifax Thunderbirds. In April of 2018, Accursi completed his second season as an assistant with the Rochester Knighthawks after serving for three seasons as the team's lacrosse operations assistant.
"I was surprised, and then really excited," said Accursi. "To become the first coach of the NLL Halifax Thunderbirds is a tremendous honour and I am grateful to Curt Styres for giving me this opportunity. We have a talented group of players and I'm excited to bring this team to the wonderful city of Halifax."
During the 2017-18 campaign the St. Catharines, Ontario native took over the offense and mentored a young group of forwards. That season, Rochester improved by 61 goals to finish third in the league with 236. The Knighthawks' power play went from ninth to second, as this year's team scored 40 times and converted over 59 percent of their chances. More importantly, the Knighthawks advanced to the NLL Finals.
Prior to his move to the front office, he played 17 seasons in the National Lacrosse League (1998-2014). In 2014, he contributed on and off the field. After starting the season in an executive role, he made a triumphant return to the turf on Feb. 1, scoring one goal and adding one assist against Edmonton. Rochester went 3-1 with Accursi in the lineup, as he scored five times and collected one assist. In his second game back, he scored twice to help the Knighthawks defeat the Buffalo Bandits 9-6. His most important goal, however, was on March 1 when he netted the game-winner in an 11-9 victory over Colorado. In March, he returned to the front office and two months later celebrated the team's historic third straight NLL championship.
Accursi played seven seasons in Rochester and still ranks fifth in assists (222), points (364), and ninth in goals (142). In Knighthawks playoff history, the three-time team assistant captain ranks second in goals (28) and fifth in points (43). He set the team record for most goals in a playoff game with seven against the Buffalo Bandits on April 23, 2005. His numbers and leadership ability place him among the top clutch playoff performers in team history.
In his NLL career, Accursi played for teams in Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse, Hamilton and Edmonton. In 17 seasons, he scored 391 goals, while adding 436 assists for 827 points in 237 games. In NLL postseason history, he ranks fifth in goals (58), tied for eighth in points (99), and tied for ninth in games played (26). Accursi is a five-time NLL champion.
He won his first two NLL Cups in back-to-back seasons, winning in 2007 with the Knighthawks and in 2008 with the Buffalo Bandits. He repeated that feat in 2013, as he helped Rochester win back-to-back titles for the first time in team history. He was also a major part of the team's success in 2014 when the Knighthawks became the first team in the NLL to three-peat.
As the sport of lacrosse grows in Nova Scotia, Accursi is excited to be a part of that growth and introducing the people of Halifax and the surrounding areas to this incredible sport.
"Fans can expect non stop hard hitting action," said Accursi. "I have no doubts that the city of Halifax will embrace and support this team. Once they come to one game they will be hooked. This passionate sports town is going to fall in love with this sport and this team. I can't wait to get started."
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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