(OAKVILLE, ON) September 16, 2023 – The Halifax Thunderbirds added to their roster on Saturday night at the 2023 NLL Draft, selecting six players.
The organization opened the night with the 10th overall selection but traded that pick to the New York Riptide in exchange for a first-round pick in 2025.
Halifax stepped up to the podium with their first two draft picks in the second round – the 28th pick and a compensatory selection at No. 36. They snagged forward Mike Robinson and defender Caelan Mander with those picks.
Robinson has played his entire junior and senior carer in Peterborough, spending time with both the Jr A and Jr C Lakers. His best season of junior came in 2021 during the shortened OJLL bubble, where he was one of the top scorers in the tournament with 25 points in eight games.
He made the jump to senior this season and split time with the Sr. Lakers and the OSL’s Ennismore James Gang. In the MSL, he finished with seven goals and 15 points in eight games. He posted the same stat line in Senior B but in just four contests.
The Delaware product will be returning to school to finish up his graduate year with the Blue Hens.
Mander renounced his NCAA eligibility in order to enter the draft early. The 2004-born defender was a standout for Port Coquitlam this past summer, scoring 14 goals and 23 points in 19 games. Born in Surrey, BC, Mander also appeared with the Edmonton Miners in the 2022 Minto Cup, where he appeared in seven games and had five points.
With two players added, the Thunderbirds followed up with the additions of defender Andrew Vradenburg in the third round (48th overall) and Beau Pederson in the fourth round (63rd overall).
Vradenburg, 20, captained his hometown Burlington Blaze to the Minto Cup in his final year of junior this summer. In 18 games played this summer, he had nine points while taking just 14 penalty minutes.
The defender also played in the Arena Lacrosse League for the Six Nations Snipers this past winter, posting over a point per game in 13 games out the back gate.
Pederson has spent his collegiate career with Princeton, first as a midfielder before making the switch to short-stick defensive midfield in his sophomore year.
Last season with the Tigers, he was named to the All-Ivy League Second Team as well as a USA Lacrosse Magazine third-team All-American while serving as a captain.
Across 50 career games with Princeton, he has 15 goals and 24 points along with 69 ground balls and 24 caused turnovers.
And with their final two picks in the draft, the Thunderbirds added depth ahead of training camp. Forward Briley Maxwell was selected in the fifth round (77th overall) while forward Camden Smith was taken at No. 92.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound lefty had 39 points in 13 games of RMLL action before exploding for 38 points in eight playoff games in the team’s run to the 2023 Minto Cup. In the National junior championships with 11 points in four games.
Smith has spent time North of the border previously, playing part of last summer with the Snake Island Muskies and 2019 with the Mohawk Medicine Men.
The West Springfield, Massachusetts product spent this summer with the NABLL’s Paper City Oaks, where he finished the year with 41 goals and 61 points in 13 games.