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Thunderbirds Sign Three Draft Picks, Add Three Street Free Agents to One-Year Contracts

September 26, 2022 - National Lacrosse League (NLL) - Halifax Thunderbirds News Release

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia - The Halifax Thunderbirds have signed six players, including three draft selections in the 2022 NLL Draft, to one-year contracts. Defencemen Jerry Staats and Jon McConvey and transition player Keaton Brown were all selected by the Thunderbirds in the 2022 NLL Entry Draft. Defencemen Justin Martin, Steve Portelli, and Keagan White were added as street free agents.

"It's great to put pen to paper with this talented group of draft picks and free agents," said Thunderbirds Assistant GM, Scott Campbell. "We are looking forward to camp kicking off in early November and see how this group competes and pushes for a roster spot."

Staats, 24, was selected in the second round (No. 29 overall) of the 2022 Entry Draft and has also seen plenty of action with the Six Nations Chiefs and Arrows. The lefty defender won a Minto Cup with the Chiefs in 2015 and 2017. In 66 regular season games at the Jr. A level, Staats has 32 points (5G, 27A). Across three seasons in the MSL, Staats has seen action in 21 regular season contests - posting seven points (4G, 3A) - and 10 postseason contests in 2022.

An alum of Syracuse University where he played defence, Staats spent three seasons with the Orange, playing 13 games on its man-down unit as a senior. In 26 games played collegiately, Staats dished two assists, collected four ground balls, and caused a turnover. Listed at 6-foot, 217 pounds, Staats won bronze medals for the Iroqouis Nationals at the 2016 U19 and 2018 World Field Lacrosse Championships.

McConvey, 23, was selected in the third round (No. 54 overall) of the 2022 Entry Draft and is a defender out of Etobicoke, Ontario. He played for four seasons with the Mimico Mountaineers Jr. A from 2016-19, seeing action in 44 games and posting 51 points (21G, 30A).

McConvey graduated from the University of Vermont with his brother, first overall pick in the draft Thomas. Listed at 6-foot-1, 183 pounds, the midfielder played in 36 games collegiately, posting 22 points (14G, 8A), 13 ground balls, and a caused turnover.

Brown, 21, was selected in the sixth round (No. 101 overall) of the 2022 Entry Draft and is a right-handed transition player from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Brown has spent two seasons playing for the Orangeville Northmen Jr. B. At 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, he has 36 points (17G, 19A) in 39 regular season games and four points (2G, 2A) in 10 postseason contests. Brown also played for the Dartmouth Bandits in the East Coast Junior Lacrosse League.

Martin, 22, is a left-handed defenceman out of Six Nations. He played three seasons in the Arena Lacrosse League (ALL) for the Six Nations Snipers as a forward. In 33 games played, Martin recorded 73 points (38G, 35A), 29 (13G, 16A) of them which came during the 2022 season when he was named an ALL East First Team All-Star. Through three postseason contests, he put up seven points (3G, 4A).

At 5-foot-11, 190 pounds, Martin played in the Ontario Jr. B Lacrosse League for the Six Nations Rebels. He tallied 82 GP 170 PTS (72G, 98A) in 82 regular season games played and 59 points (22G, 37A) in 48 postseason games.

Portelli, 23, is a right-handed defenceman out of Georgetown, Ontario. He played for the Oakville Rock in Major Series Lacrosse in 2021, tallying 12 points (4G, 8A) in seven regular season games played.

In 2020 and 2022, Portelli played for the Toronto Monarchs in the ALL. He put up 40 points (13G, 27A) in 19 regular season games played and three points (1G, 2A) in one postseason contest.

White, 22, is a left-handed defenceman out of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Listed at 6-foot, 196 pounds, he was originally drafted by the Saskatchewan Rush in the fifth round (No. 75 overall) of the 2021 Entry Draft and spent the 2021-22 NLL season on their practice roster.

White played four seasons in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League Jr. A for the Saskatchewan SWAT. He posted five points (2G, 3A) in 39 regular season games and three points (1G, 2A) in six postseason contests.

"This year we've brought in some young and talented guys to fight for a spot on this team," Head Coach Mike Accursi went on to say. "We feel they all possess the skills, characteristics, and work ethic required to be successful in the NLL. I'm excited to see them compete against our veterans as they fight to become a Thunderbird."


The Thunderbirds return to Scotiabank Centre as they open their 2022-2023 campaign against the Philadelphia Wings. Season tickets to watch championship-caliber professional lacrosse in Nova Scotia are on sale at or by calling or texting 902-334-2333.

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