There are only six more games remaining in the Rochester Knighthawks’ inaugural campaign, and with the way things have transpired over the last week, it seems that those six games will be put on hold. At least for the foreseeable future.
Last week, Rochester had just finished up its final back-to-back weekend of the season during a two-game western road swing to take on the San Diego Seals and Colorado Mammoth. And when the Knighthawks landed safely back in Rochester last Monday afternoon, they had no idea that their entire season would be put on standby less than three days later.
Knighthawks captain Paul Dawson recalled the exact moment when news broke of the first professional athlete to test positive for COVID-19.
“I was just finishing up a men’s league hockey game and then we saw that the NBA had canceled the game between the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma Thunder right then and there. Obviously, the conversation then started to stir.”
Little did Dawson know then, but that was also the exact moment that would change everything.
All within a 24-hour time period following the NBA’s abrupt suspension, all major professional sports leagues and colleges had suspended their seasons, including the National Lacrosse League. The League has yet to make a determination on the potential resumption of play, meaning the final six games remaining in Rochester’s inaugural season could possibly be rescheduled at a later date.
For now, the uncertainties remain as the Knighthawks, a team who reemerged in the NLL this season with fresh colors and brand-new identity, are forced to wonder what the future may hold.
“It’s pretty tough with how everything has transpired, but it makes sense that they (the NLL) did this. We’re a smaller league, but it’s still tough as a league to keep playing and maybe put people in jeopardy,” said the Knighthawks captain when asked his reaction on the sudden stoppage of play during the 2019-20 campaign.
Although Rochester was sporting just a 2-10 overall record through its first 12 games of the season, there were still many bright spots that had taken place. From Opening Night in November, to the franchise’s first win back on Jan. 18 against the defending NLL champions and many professional firsts for the athletes in between, there’s still so much left to unfold as the Knighthawks hope to finish what they started as a brand-new team less than five months ago.
“We still want to finish what we started and any time that you don’t get to play the sport that you love, it sucks,” said Dawson as he began to discuss how to keep himself prepared in the case that the season resumes.
Like the Knighthawks’ inaugural season, there’s always plenty of positives to takeaway, even when strange situations present themselves like the one the players are currently facing. With the pause within the sports world, Dawson now has more time to spend with his wife and dog, he can now get to chores that he may have been putting off and there’s a ton of opportunity to communicate with family from afar thanks to technology throughout this difficult time.
The COVID-19 pandemic also hits even closer to home for Dawson, who’s a firefighter by trade. He and other first responders are on the front lines daily, putting themselves at risk to help others. But helping people is also the same reason Dawson became a firefighter in the first place. For him, it’s just another day and another opportunity to help someone.
Most importantly, though, the Knighthawks captain just wants everyone to help spread the positive vibes now more than ever. The only positive about a global crisis is that it brings people together and that unity is what get us through the extremely difficult days ahead.
“This is just a test of human resolve. It’s still unknown and scary as to what’s going to happen, but I think if we follow some guidelines, we’re positive and we ban together as a human race, then we can get through this and we’ll come out better on the other end.”
Rochester’s inaugural season has yet to be declared officially over and all the players are looking forward to returning to the floor as soon as the opportunity presents itself.
Until then, listen to the Knighthawks veteran defenseman and learn to ban together in an unknown and scary period of time. Positive vibes seem to be a major key component in helping the human race get through this together, in turn helping create a quicker comeback for your Knighthawks out on the floor.