Accursi nominated for NLL Hall of Fame
Mike Accursi, left, and Halifax Thunberbirds owner and general manager Curt Styres, right, presents Accursi with a Hall of Fame plaque with the NLL’s Rochester Knighthawks.
Mike Accursi is well aware of the honour of being selected to a hall of fame.
The 46-year-old St. Catharines resident was inducted into the Rochester Knighthawks Hall of Fame and never forgot the experience.
“It’s huge. I got put in a few years back and it was a huge honour to be recognized in that city,” he said.
Accursi may get to experience something similar after being one of 20 players nominated for inclusion in the National Lacrosse League Hall of Fame class of 2021. Inductees from among the group, which includes 17 all-time great players and three builders, will be announced in June with a ceremony planned for this fall.
“To be recognized by your peers from within the league, is a tremendous honour and a humbling experience for sure,” he said.
Accursi found out about the nomination recently.
“I knew they were bringing back the Hall of Fame this year but I didn’t really know until I got a call from the league office letting me know I had been nominated,” he said. “It’s a great honour.”
Accursi played 17 seasons for Buffalo, Edmonton, Ontario, Rochester and Syracuse. He is a four-time champion (2007, 2012, 2013 with Rochester, 2008 with Buffalo) who was named to the 2000 All-League Second Team. He retired in the top 20 all-time in games played (237), goals (391), points (827) and loose ball recoveries (1,069) and is fourth all-time with 58 playoff goals and fifth with 99 playoff points.
“It definitely has its challenges,” he said of playing in the NLL while also teaching full time at Holy Cross Secondary School. “To play for 17 years, — we all played it because we loved it, not because we were getting rich on it — when you have a recognition like that, it puts all that time and those sacrifices and sweat and grit and effort into proper perspective.
“It makes you reflect on your career and where you started and the different areas you went across the country to play the sport you love. I have nothing but fond memories of my time playing.”
Accursi marvelled at the list of fellow nominees.
“When you look at it, it’s a who’s who of GOATs (greatest of all time) that have played this game — John Grant, Jr, Colin Doyle — those guys are great players who probably should have been in the Hall many years ago, so to be recognized with players of that calibre is definitely exciting.”
Among the nominees are fellow former St. Catharines Athletics Billy Dee Smith, Steve Toll, Pat McCready and Mark Steenhuis.
“The St. Catharines Athletics do a really great job of producing quality players every year,” said Accursi, who played for the A’s in 1995 and 1996. “To have five players recognized in this year’s nominations come from one centre, that’s a feather in the cap for the St. Catharines Athletics and the organization and how they run things here.”
Accursi, who is in his 21st season teaching at Holy Cross, can’t wait to get back to the floor. He was named head coach of the Halifax Thunderbirds in 2019 when the franchise relocated from Rochester. The NLL had their 2020 season wiped out by the COVID pandemic.
“I really miss it, it’s in your blood,” he said. “We were just getting rolling with a great season out there fan-wise and team-wise. You miss it a lot. You don’t realize how big a part of your day and your daily life and routine goes into preparing for the next game and for what’s next.
“It’s nice to have a little bit of a break but I’m gnawing at the bit to get back at it.”
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