Rochester Knighthawks general manager Dan Carey announced today that the team has re-signed head coach Mike Hasen and assistant coach Pat O’Toole to two-year contract extensions. In addition, the team has elevated Kyle Kallay to assistant coach on a one-year agreement for the upcoming 2023-24 season.
Assistant coach Gavin Prout will not return to the organization.
“We took tremendous strides last season under the leadership of Mike, Pat and Kyle and we’re excited to have them back to continue building and leading this team,” said Carey. “We thank Gavin for his contributions to the organization this past season and wish him the best going forward.”
Hasen, who was named a finalist for the Les Bartley Award as the NLL’s Coach of the Year, guided the Knighthawks through one of the most incredible, yet unexpected transformations by an NLL franchise this past season. The 2022-23 campaign was one of significant change and remarkable growth for the Knighthawks, who after combining for just six wins through their first two years of the expansion-era, finished the season fourth in the Eastern Conference standings with a 10-8 record, culminating with the organization’s first-ever playoff berth.
Rochester opened the season with an unprecedented six consecutive wins, including the first in team history over both Buffalo and Toronto, two of the NLL’s established and prominent organizations, and won their first five straight at home. It marked the longest win streak in team history and tied for the second-longest in the NLL this past season with both Buffalo and Georgia. Rochester’s five-game home win streak was also the second-best with only the Toronto Rock having a better run.
Hasen, who previously won the Les Bartley Award in 2011 as a rookie head coach and remains the only one to do so in his first year, joined elite company back on March 25 in Las Vegas, where he was behind the bench for his 200th regular-season game, a feat only five others in league history have accomplished before him. He became just the sixth head coach – and third this past season behind Georgia’s Ed Comeau and Vancouver’s Troy Cordingley – to have coached 200 National Lacrosse League games. Hasen also owns the distinction of being the only member of the prestigious group, which also includes Paul Day, Darris Kilgour and Derek Keenan, to reach the mark having spent his entire career in the same city.
One of the most decorated coaches in league history, Hasen is certainly no stranger to Rochester, having previously served as head coach of the former Knighthawks franchise from 2011 to 2019. In nine seasons behind the bench with the original Knighthawks, 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 finished the 2022-23 season with 97 career wins and remains on pace to become just the sixth coach in NLL history to reach 100 career wins. He surpassed legendary head coach Les Bartley, for whom the Head Coach of the Year Award is named after, for sixth all-time following the win over Halifax on Feb. 11. The team’s win over Georgia on April 22 gave the expansion-era Knighthawks their first 10-win season in franchise history and was the first for a Hasen-led Knighthawks team since the 2017-18 campaign.
Hasen is also a four-time Mann Cup winner as head coach of the Peterborough Lakers of Major Series Lacrosse. This past September, he guided the team to its fourth straight Mann Cup, the top prize in Canada’s senior men’s box lacrosse circuit.
On September 14, 2010, Hasen became the Knighthawks sixth head coach. Prior to his promotion, he spent two seasons as an assistant under Paul Gait (2009-10). He moved behind the bench after a stellar 13-year playing career, which included nine seasons in Rochester (1999-2007).
In February of 2011, Hasen was inducted into the Knighthawks Hall of Fame for his work 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 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.
O’Toole completed his third season as an assistant coach with the expansion-era Rochester Knighthawks in 2022-23. The Knighthawks had the top-ranked penalty kill in the NLL this past season under O’Toole, allowing just 20 goals-against on 52 shorthanded situations.
The Brampton, Ontario, native also spent nine seasons as the assistant coach of the previous Rochester Knighthawks franchise.
During his tenure, Rochester has made the playoffs six 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.
He 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 remains the previous 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 and was named the Bandits’ Best Defensive Player. Further, he was MVP of the 1996 MILL Championship Game. O’Toole would then sign with the Knighthawks as a free agent on Jan. 23, 1999.