The Rochester Knighthawks announced today that rookie transition man Ryland Rees has been named the Defensive Player of the Year, presented by Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino, for the team’s inaugural season.
“Ryland had a great first season,” said Knighthawks General Manager and Vice President of Lacrosse Operations Dan Carey. “He was consistent in his play and showed leadership qualities you don’t normally see in a rookie. He definitely lived up to our expectations and look forward to watching him elevate his game next season.”
Taken with the second overall pick in the 2019 NLL Entry Draft, Rees took his first season in the National Lacrosse League by storm, recording 11 points on four goals and seven assists while being one of just four Knighthawks rookies to appear in all 12 games during Rochester’s inaugural campaign. The Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, native finished the year tied for 10th in scoring among all NLL rookies and second behind only teammate Cory Highfield for the most points among all first-year transition players.
Rees also added a team-high 75 loose ball recoveries, trailing only New England’s Joe Nardella (86) and New York’s Alex Woodall (84) for the most among NLL rookies in that category.
After scoring his first two pro goals in a 13-12 win over the defending NLL champion Calgary Roughnecks on Jan. 18, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Rees closed out the season with three straight multi-point outings, including a season-high three-point effort (1+2) at San Diego on Mar. 7.
The Knighthawks will continue to unveil their inaugural season’s year-end award winners on Wednesday, June 10 with the Teammate of the Year, presented by Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino.