It seems as if over the last 14 years, Paul Dawson has become a staple defenseman in the Flower City. Having spent parts of the last seven seasons with the previous Knighthawks franchise, he’s certainly no stranger to Rochester or its fan base. The 2019-20 campaign allowed him to stay in the city he’s called home for nearly a decade, combining a sense of familiarity with a new beginning while guiding the revamped Knighthawks into the expansion-era. As always, Dawson was a force to be reckoned with, providing stability and leadership all while commanding a team with limited NLL experience. Here’s a look a back at Dawson’s top three moments from Rochester’s inaugural campaign.
1. HE’S OUR CAPTAIN
A night before opening their inaugural season against the Georgia Swarm, the Knighthawks named Dawson team captain. He would be joined by forwards Shawn Evans and Curtis Knight, who served as the team’s assistant captains.
Dawson became the first captain in Knighthawks history after spending parts of the previous seven seasons with the previous Knighthawks franchise leading up to the 2019-20 season. Over his time in Rochester, the Knighthawks captain has combined for 42 points (15+27) in 122 career games while winning back-to-back championships (2013-14) along the way.
After serving as an alternate captain during the 2018-19 season for the previous Knighthawks organization, this past season was the first time that Dawson had served as an official captain for any squad he’s played on.
2. 200 AND COUNTING
Not only did this past season serve as a first for several Knighthawks players, but it also served as a milestone for Dawson within his 14-year pro career.
Back on Dec. 28 against the Toronto Rock, Dawson appeared in his 200th professional game. After spending time with six different organizations throughout his career, including a move from goaltender to defenseman, Dawson’s 200th game was a highly anticipated one and a feat that only a handful of players have achieved in recent years.
3. TEAMMATE OF THE YEAR
Back in June, the team announced Dawson was named Rochester’s Teammate of the Year, presented by Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino, for the team’s inaugural season.
“Paul Dawson is a consummate professional in every sense of the word and a true leader on and off the floor,” said Knighthawks General Manager and Vice President of Lacrosse Operations Dan Carey. “He keeps everyone accountable with his personality, work ethic and toughness. He leads by example, embodies all the qualities that we want in our players and plays an integral role in shaping the culture of our organization. We are lucky to have him as our captain and our players recognize that by voting him Teammate of the Year.”
On top of being named the first captain in franchise history, the 34-year-old Dawson led the expansion-era Knighthawks into their first NLL season, recording six points (2+4) and ranking second on the team with 29 penalty minutes while appearing in all 12 games. More importantly, Dawson anchored one of the youngest defenses in the NLL and provided steady leadership to a Knighthawks roster that featured 10 different rookies make their professional debuts this past season.