Rochester Knighthawks rookie forward Austin Hasen didn’t disappoint last weekend. In his first game in the National Lacrosse League, the rookie went on to produce two goals and rack up five loose ball recoveries.
“It was a lot of fun,” started Hasen when asked how he felt his first game in the pros went. “It was a dream come true to be getting on the floor with those guys and we played well and the result kind of came our way. So, that was the most important thing was escaping Georgia with the win, and we did it Week 1.”
We all know that Hasen isn’t a stranger to the league because his dad, Knighthawks head coach Mike Hasen, is an NLL legend. So, it comes as no surprise that the newcomer tore it up in his first week and look as if he fit right into the mold of an NLL player.
“He’s going to be a difficult player to play against. He’s a very aggressive, physical player,” said Knighthawks general manager Dan Carey when asked about what he saw from Hasen in his first game as a pro.
In order to acquire Hasen with the 18th overall in the first round of the 2022 NLL Draft, Carey first had to agree to part ways with goaltender Joel Watson and Rochester’s second-round pick in the 2024 NLL Entry Draft, both of which went to the Las Vegas Desert Dogs. In return, the Knighthawks received the 18thpick and subsequently used it to select Hasen at 18th overall to conclude their picks in the opening round.
“I think he took his opportunities right,” continued Carey when describing the way Hasen came out in the game against Georgia. “It wasn’t a rookie that was a little nervous to take it in and didn’t want to do too much. He had some opportunities to shoot the ball and he had success. So, we expect that from him and we’re going to expect even more moving forward.”
A lot of the focus heading into the 2022-23 campaign has been that Hasen is following in his dad’s footsteps, however, that’s not really the case. Yes, the rookie understands that he has a name on the back of his jersey to live up to but the future he can begin to forge is his own to take.
“You just got to go out there and play like you deserve a spot in the lineup. It is pressure, but you kind of just try to limit the noise as much as you can. You don’t really hear it on the floor, so it’s easy to play and you just got to keep showing people that you can play here and earn your spot here.”
Hasen most certainly showed up to impress in Week 1, catching the attention of everyone across the league. For Hasen’s efforts in Week 1 of NLL action, the Knighthawks newcomer was awarded the NLL’s Rookie of the Week award on Thursday.
“It was cool…it was an honor to see that post on Thursday there, and it was cool and a little special,” commented Hasen when asked what kind of validation he got after being honored as the NLL’s first Rookie of the Week for the 2022-23 campaign.
Hasen and the Knighthawks look for their second straight win of the young season tonight as they return home to take on the six-time NLL champion Toronto Rock in their 2022-23 Home Opener at Segar & Sciortino Field at The Blue Cross Arena. The 7:00 p.m. matchup will be the first of two meetings between the two teams this season and will be carried live on Big 107.3 FM as well as ESPN+.