Rochester Knighthawks General Manager and Vice President of Lacrosse Operations Dan Carey announced today that the team has agreed to a one-year extension with head coach Mike Hasen and assistant coach Pat O’Toole for the 2022-23 season. Assistant coach Mat Giles was also offered a contract extension but elected not to return due to family commitments.
The trio have been instrumental in developing some of the league’s next generation of talent over the past two seasons, including 2020 third overall pick Ryan Smith, two-time Defensive Player of the Year Ryland Rees and highly touted goaltender Rylan Hartley.
“Our organization took great strides last season under the leadership of our coaching staff and much of that can be attributed to the culture we’ve been building over the last few years,” said Carey. “I look forward to continue working alongside Mike and Pat next season and thank Mat for his commitment and dedication to the Knighthawks over our first two seasons in the National Lacrosse League.”
Hasen is certainly no stranger to Rochester, having spent a total of 11 seasons as head coach, including nine with the former Knighthawks franchise from 2011 to 2019 before leading the expansion-era Knighthawks. Hasen has compiled an 87-99 career coaching record over 11 total seasons while guiding his team to six playoff appearances. The original Knighthawks also finished among the top two teams in the East Division six different times under Hasen, including each of the first five seasons (2011-2015).
Hasen’s most successful run at the helm of the Knighthawks came from 2012-14 when he made National Lacrosse League history by leading Rochester to an unprecedented three straight Champion’s Cups. He remains the only NLL bench boss to accomplish the feat.
In 2014, he guided Rochester to the top of the East Division with a 14-4 record, which was the second-best mark in the NLL. The Knighthawks went 12-1 within the East Division and posted an NLL-best 8-1 record at home. He capped off the season by defeating the Calgary Roughnecks in the NLL Championship Series.
During the 2013 season, the Toronto, Ontario, native became the first-ever Rochester coach to lead his team to consecutive titles, following an 11-10 victory over the Washington Stealth in the Champion’s Cup Finals. In 2012, he guided Rochester to its first NLL Championship since the 2007 season.
In 2011, he made league history with his selection as the NLL Coach of the Year, becoming the first rookie head coach to win the Les Bartley Award. That season, the Knighthawks returned to the playoffs for the first time since the 2009 campaign. The team ended the regular season on a four-game road winning streak and finished in a three-way tie for first in the East Division at 10-6.
In February of 2011, Hasen was inducted into the Knighthawks Hall of Fame following 10 seasons as a player. He helped anchor the Rochester defense from 1999 to 2007, ending his career by winning the 2007 Champion’s Cup. At the time of his retirement, he ranked fifth in games played (114), loose balls (575) and penalty minutes (188). He also served as the team captain for five seasons (2002-03 to 2007). In his career, he played in 150 games and recorded 23 goals, 82 assists and 704 loose balls. He was also named the team MVP in 2003-04 and was a two-time winner of the team’s Unsung Hero Award (2000-01 to 2001-02) and a three-time recipient of the Best Defenseman honor.
Hasen was also named to the Canadian All-Star team for the inaugural NLL All-Star Game in 1999. Before arriving in Rochester, he played with the Buffalo Bandits from 1996 to 1999. He tallied 45 points (10+35) in four seasons with Buffalo and was honored as the Bandits’ top defensive player in 1997. He was also selected the Unsung Hero of Buffalo’s 1996 MILL championship team.
Much like Hasen, O’Toole is synonymous with the Rochester lacrosse scene after spending the last 11 seasons (2011-2022) as an assistant coach on Hasen’s staff and 12 others as a player with the previous Knighthawks organization. During his tenure, Rochester advanced to the postseason five times and won a league-record three straight Champion’s Cups from 2012-14. In 2015, he also worked alongside Hasen as an assistant coach with Team England at the FIL World Lacrosse Championship.
O’Toole, who oversees the defense, made a smooth transition to coaching after a Hall of Fame playing career. Widely known as one of the greatest goalies in team and league history, O’Toole announced his retirement on Dec. 23, 2010, following a 16-year professional playing career, the final 12 of which was spent in Rochester.
A native of Brampton, Ontario, O’Toole posted an astounding 115-56 record with an 11.40 goals-against average and a .768 save percentage over 204 career games with the Knighthawks, Buffalo Bandits and New York Saints. He was a workhorse in goal, logging 10,285 minutes and finishing first overall in saves with 6,464. He also backstopped his teams to two championships, first with Buffalo in 1996 and then again with Rochester in 2007.
O’Toole finished his stint with the original Knighthawks as the franchise’s all-time leader in wins (102) and saves (5,756). In 173 games, he recorded a 102-51 record, an 11.21 goals-against average and a .771 save percentage. He revolutionized the game as he became a legitimate scoring threat, netting three goals as a Knighthawk, which is the NLL record for goals by a goaltender. O’Toole also chipped in 136 assists, hitting teammates with memorable floor-length passes.
He guided the Knighthawks to their second NLL championship (2007) and was also the franchise’s all-time leader in postseason wins (9) and saves (644). Additionally, he guided the Knighthawks to Finals appearances in 1999, 2000 and 2003. O’Toole was one of the keys to Rochester’s 17-2 championship season in 2007. He was popular amongst his teammates as he was three times voted the team’s MVP. He was also a two-time All-Pro and the league’s 2003 Goaltender of the Year. In 2013, he was named to the Knighthawks Hall of Fame and the NLL Hall of Fame.
O’Toole was originally drafted by the New York Saints in 1995. He played for the Buffalo Bandits and was a member of the 1996 MILL champion Bandits team. That season, he led the MILL in save percentage, was named the Bandits’ Best Defensive Player and MVP of the 1996 MILL Championship Game.