HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (August 29, 2021) - In their second NLL Entry Draft, the Halifax Thunderbirds drafted remotely from Jacksonville, Fla. and added depth all across the board with six new additions in purple and orange.
With their first pick of the night, Thunderbirds Owner and General Manager Curt Styres selected defenceman Max Wison (No. 12 overall). With five remaining picks to add to the Thunderbirds’ stable, Styres selected goalie Drew Hutchison (No. 18 overall), forward Jackson Reid (No. 28 overall), forward Kealan Pilon (No. 39 overall), Jeremy Winston (No. 74 overall), and Colin Hinton (No. 88 overall).
“We’re very happy with the picks that we got, and we can’t wait for the season to get going,” Styres said.
Wilson, 22, played midfield at New Jersey Institute of Technology. The right-hander’s collegiate career with the Highlanders saw him finish with 30 points (15G, 15A), 22 ground balls, and four caused turnovers.
Listed at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, the Victoria, B.C. native played 33 regular season games with the Jr. A Victoria Shamrocks in the BCLA, posting 17 points (6G, 11A) and adding three points (1G, 2A) in 14 postseason contests.
“The saying goes, ‘Offence wins you games; defence wins you championships,’ and I think we have a great defence, and he just made us better,” Thunderbirds Head Coach Mike Accursi said about Wilson. “Big, tough, gritty defender that can get up and down the floor. He’s not afraid of anybody, except for (Thunderbirds defenceman and three-time NLL Defensive Player of the Year) Graeme Hossack - according to (Wilson) - but I think that excitement and passion he has for lacrosse is something that we want to build an organization around, with quality individuals, and he checks all those boxes.”
Hutchison, 23, is coming off a NCAA DIII championship win with the Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers. Listed at 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, he played 109:02 min. in front of the net during that championship winning season, posting a 7.15 GAA and 6.49 SV%. Hutchison’s NCAA career saw him finish with 287:47 min., an 8.57 GAA, and a .627 SV%.
The left-hander also played between the pipes for the Burlington Chiefs in the Ontario Junior Lacrosse League in 2019. Hutchison has 911:59 min. of regular season action under his belt to complement his 12-3 record, 6.45 GAA, and .834 SV%. Across 893:28 min. in the postseason, Hutchison has an 8-6 win-loss record, 6.31 GAA, and .844 SV%.
Reid, 22, is from Guelph, Ontario and played attack for Ohio State University. The left-handers’ last season with the Buckeyes saw him collect 26 points (15G, 11A) and 12 ground balls in 11 games. Through the 45 games of his NCAA collegiate career, Reid posted 118 points (84G, 34A) and 64 ground balls.
Listed at 5-foot-10 and 166 pounds, Reid played Jr. A lacrosse for the Kitchener-Waterloo Braves and Six Nations Arrows from 2015-19. Through those five seasons, he has 141 points (56G, 85A) in 54 regular season games played and 29 points (10G, 19A) in 19 postseason games played.
Reid becomes the latest Buckeye to play for the Thunderbirds, joining fellow alums Jake Withers, Austin Shanks, Eric Fannell, and Ryan Terefenko.
“The coaching style they have (at OSU), it's a hard-nosed style that they play, and it fits good with the Canadian style of lacrosse,” Styres said about the Buckeyes program. “We love the players that transition from there to take the next step.”
Pilon, 22, is a left-hander out of St. Catherines, Ontario, where he played for the Jr. A team. In 43 regular season games for the Athletics, Pilon recorded 149 points (50G, 97A), and in 17 postseason contests, he has 43 points (6G, 37A). Listed at 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds, Pilon also played in three contests for the Cobourg Kodiaks (Major Series Lacrosse) this year, finishing his rookie campaign with 14 points (4G, 10A).
A graduate of Queen’s University of Charlotte, Pilon played attack collegiately, wrapping up his college years with 114 points (66G, 48A) and 36 ground balls in 39 games played.
Winston played midfield at Jacksonville University, the first of two Dolphins selected by the Thunderbirds in this draft. Listed at 5-foot-8 and 190 pounds, the Dallas, Texas native played in 48 games, posting 74 points (55G, 19A), 37 ground balls, and four caused turnovers. He was also named to the SB Nation/College Crosse All-Freshman Third Team in 2018 and was a member of the SoCon All-Freshman Team in 2018. Winston also played for the Tuscarora Tomahawks in the Can-Am Lacrosse League in 2019.
Hinton was a defender for Jacksonville University in 2020 and 2021. Listed at 6-foot-0, 190 pounds, the Kensington, Md. native scooped up 25 ground balls and caused 22 turnovers in 15 games played.
“When the season was cut short in 2020, I believed we were a contender for the top spot, and during the offseason, we got better, adding Tyson Bell, David Brock, and Stephan Leblanc,” Styres concluded. “I like what we got; we got better, and in this draft, we got better again.”
The Thunderbirds return to Scotiabank Centre for #UnfinishedBusiness on Dec. 4, 2021 to take on the Saskatchewan Rush. Season tickets to watch championship-caliber professional lacrosse in Nova Scotia are on sale at HalifaxThunderbirds.com or by calling or texting 902-334-2333.