Originally drafted by the Toronto Rock in the third round, 30th overall, of the 2017 NLL Entry Draft, goaltender Riley Hutchcraft has been waiting for his chance to get the role as a starter for a franchise in the National Lacrosse League.
Since being drafted, Hutchcraft was dealt the cards of playing behind league veteran, and one of the league’s best netminders, Nick Rose for the last four seasons in Toronto. Hard cards to be dealt when you’re trying to find your own way in this league.
“I played multiple years behind Nick Rose, and I have nothing but great things to say about him. He taught me a ton here in Toronto and it made me the goalie I am now,” stated Hutchcraft, who was acquired by Rochester along with forward Connor Fields from the Las Vegas Desert Dogs during the 2022 NLL Expansion Draft. “The opportunity now in Rochester, it’s an opportunity that I think will give me time in the net.”
Hutchcraft posted an 0-1 record with 19 saves along with a 7.89 goals-against average and a .826 save percentage in the 2021-22 campaign with the Rock.
In four seasons with Toronto, Hutchcraft recorded a 6.43 goals-against average and a .698 save percentage. He made his NLL debut on Jan. 6, 2018, playing the final 15 minutes, allowing two goals, in the Rock’s 24-7 win at Vancouver.
Now, Hutchcraft gets to turn the page on Toronto and begin a brand-new chapter in a city that he dreamt of playing for as a kid.
“There’s a deep tradition that is in the city of Rochester,” said Hutchcraft when asked what he knows about Rochester in general. “Right before the expansion team happened and growing up in Toronto, there were three teams that a Toronto boy would go to. You’d either go to the Toronto Rock, the Buffalo Bandits or you’d go to the Rochester Knighthawks. So, it was pretty special to get the call and say that I was going to play for the Knighthawks.”
Luckily for Hutchcraft, the move to Rochester is much closer than Vegas, which is easier on a young family with a newborn.
“Rochester is close to home and it’s three hours as opposed to picking up the family and going down to Vegas,” began Hutchcraft when discussing what made this trade so easy to embrace. “My family can still come to every home game. So, at the end of the day, I think Vegas is an intriguing spot for a young player in this league, but when you sit down and you look at it as a family, and as a young family – I just had a newborn – the move to Rochester is amazing.”
It also doesn’t hurt that Hutchcraft can have a completely fresh start with a franchise that has a young goaltending tandem trying to make their mark in the NLL.
“Just coming in and having a fresh start for myself,” commented Hutchcraft when asked what he was most excited for when he looking at this upcoming season in Rochester. “I haven’t got the opportunity to play much in the NLL and it excites me that I do get that opportunity to have some minutes.”
Along with the minutes that Hutchcraft looks to earn during the 2022-23 campaign, he’s excited to come to a team that’s building a championship culture for the future.
“When I sit down and I look at this this franchise in Rochester, they’re young, but they also have a sprinkle of veteran leaders in there and the culture is such a big thing. When you go to a team, you need a team that’s very tight and I think Rochester has that.”
Hutchcraft then finished with, “It’s a good spot to win a championship in the future.”