NEW ERA BEGINS IN ROCHESTER
The Rochester Knighthawks begin a new era in Rochester tonight as the new-look franchise embarks on its inaugural season in the National Lacrosse League against the Georgia Swarm in the only meeting of the season between the two teams. Game time is slated for a 7:00 p.m. start at Segar & Sciortino Field at The Blue Cross Arena and will be carried live on 107.3 FM The Bull as well as B/R Live.
KNIGHTHAWKS READY TO TAKE FLIGHT UNDER CAREY
The man tasked with assembling the Knighthawks from the ground up is Dan Carey, who brings a wealth of experience as both an NLL executive and player. Named the first general manager in team history on Dec. 13, 2018, Carey’s arrival to Rochester came following three seasons with the NLL’s Colorado Mammoth, most recently serving as general manager. Carey was instrumental in assembling a Mammoth roster that posted two straight winning seasons, culminating in back-to-back postseason appearances. During the 2018 season, Colorado finished second in the Western Division with an 11-7 record, marking its second runner-up finish in three years, while advancing to the NLL’s Champion’s Cup Playoffs for an unprecedented eighth straight season. He originally joined the organization as the team’s eastern scout following five seasons with the Mammoth as one of the most prolific and decorated players in team history. He was named an NLL All-Star in each of his first three seasons in the league, and as a rookie, was instrumental in Colorado winning the Champion’s Cup in 2006. In 60 career regular-season games with Colorado, Carey scored 89 goals and assisted on 147 others before adding 25 points in 12 games with the Toronto Rock during the 2012 campaign to close out a six-year professional playing career.
WATCH: SHAWN EVANS AFTER MORNNG SHOOT AROUND
A LOOK AT THE NEW-LOOK ‘HAWKS
The Knighthawks enter their first NLL season with a lineup that features a balance of established veterans and a host of up-and-coming first-year players ready to make their mark in the National Lacrosse League this season. Among the biggest offseason moves made by Carey was the successful acquisition of veteran forward Shawn Evans and defenseman Paul Dawson, both of whom have ties to the previous Knighthawks franchise. Rochester acquired the 33-year-old Evans with its first overall pick in the 2019 Expansion Draft, returning him to the city that he spent the first six years of his pro career. Evans spent last season – his 14th in the NLL – with the rival Buffalo Bandits, posting 94 points (28+66) in 17 games to finish seventh in the league in scoring. He helped the Bandits claim the East Division with an NLL-best 14-4 record during the regular season and an appearance in the NLL Cup Finals, bringing Buffalo to within one win of its fifth NLL championship. A two-time NLL MVP with the Calgary Roughnecks in 2013 and 2015, the Peterborough, Ontario, native played the first six years of his pro career with the former Knighthawks franchise, during which he totaled 363 points (143+220) in 93 games while leading Rochester to an NLL championship in 2007. Over his NLL career, Evans has earned four straight All-Pro First Team selections and was named to the NLL All-Rookie Team in 2006. Much like Evans, Dawson’s history in Rochester spans nearly the past decade. The 13-year NLL veteran spent parts of the last seven seasons with the previous Knighthawks franchise, recording 36 points (13+23) in 110 career games while winning back-to-back championships (2013-14) along the way. Dawson also piled up 231 penalty minutes during his tenure in Rochester, ranking sixth all-time in team history. He served as an alternate captain during the 2018-19 campaign and was named to the Knighthawks’ All-Time Team. Highlighting this year’s incoming players include rookie transition man Ryland Rees, who the Knighthawks selected second overall in the 2019 Entry Draft this past September. Rees enters the pro ranks after spending the last four seasons at Stony Brook University, where he was a two-time team captain and was named the 2019 America East Defensive Player of the Year. Rees was also a three-time America East All-Conference First Team selection and was named to the America East All-Rookie Team as a freshman in 2016. Internationally, Rees has twice represented Team Canada, most recently winning a silver medal at the 2018 World Field Lacrosse Championship. He also won silver with Canada at the 2016 U19 World Field Lacrosse Championship.
WATCH: MIKE HASEN AFTER MORNING SHOOT AROUND
HASEN BACK AT THE HELM
Leading the Knighthawks into the expansion-era is an all-too-familiar face in head coach Mike Hasen. One of the most decorated coaches in league history, Hasen is certainly no stranger to Rochester, having served as head coach of the former Knighthawks franchise since the 2011 season. In nine seasons behind the bench, Hasen guided Rochester to an 81-75 regular season record while leading the team to six playoff appearances. The 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. Hasen will be joined alongside assistant coaches Pat O’Toole and Mat Giles for the 2019-20 season.
UP NEXT FOR THE KNIGHTHAWKS
Rochester is back in action on Saturday, Dec. 21 when they head north of the border for the first of three matchups against the North Division rival Halifax Thunderbirds at Scotiabank Centre. Game time is slated for a 6:00 p.m. ET start and will be carried live on 107.3 The Bull as well as B/R Live. Fans can stay up to date all season long with the latest Knighthawks news, stories and notes at www.rochesterknighthawks.com.