Heading into the 2019-20 NLL season, and entirely new crew was being unveiled here in the city of Rochester with a new era of lacrosse gearing up to hit the floor come Opening Night back on Nov 30. The Rochester Knighthawks were one of two expansion teams that were added to the NLL this past season, meaning that a brand-new roster was coming together to try and make its mark. As the Knighthawks had the second overall pick in the NLL Entry Draft back in September, their first pick would be that of rookie transition player, Ryland Rees. Rees immediately made an impact on the floor as he was one of a few rookies that would see time in all 12 matchups during Rochester’s inaugural 2019-20 campaign. This past season marked just the first of many years we’ll be seeing Rees display his skillset out on the floor, but before we prepare for the years ahead, let’s take a look back at his top three moments from this past year.
1. BECOMING A KNIGHTHAWK
The Rochester Knighthawks selected 10 players at the 2019 National Lacrosse League Entry Draft back in September in Philadelphia, beginning with Rees second overall.
Here’s a look back at Rochester’s 10 picks in order of selection:
- Ryland Rees (transition)
- Cory Highfield (transition)
- Dustyn Pratt (defenseman)
- Thomas Whitty (defenseman)
- Matt Vangalen (forward)
- Sean Darroch (defenseman)
- Tyler Biles (defenseman)
- Bradley Voigt (forward)
- Carter Badour (forward)
- Alec Simmons (forward)
Of the 10 original picks in the 2019 NLL Entry Draft, five remain on the Knighthawks current roster.
2. THE FIRST OF MANY FOR REES
With Rees being the second overall pick in the 2019 NLL Entry Draft, it’s no surprise that the rookie transition man saw time in all 12 games for the Knighthawks on the year.
Arguably Rees’ best performance on the season would be back on Jan. 18 as Rochester took down the Calgary Roughnecks at Segar & Sciortino Field at The Blue Cross Arena. The Knighthawks would take their first lead of the night against the defending NLL champions 10:11 into the first quarter thanks to a sensational individual effort from Rees. After causing a turnover near midfield, Rees corralled a loose ball and went the distance before wiring a last-second shot inside the right post for his first NLL goal. Rees then went on to complete his two-goal performance in the fourth quarter of the contest to notch his first multi-goal effort of his professional career with the game-tying goal at that point in the contest.
3. ROUNDING OUT THE YEAR ON A ROLL
It seems that Rees and his first multi-point effort propelled him to a very successful end on the year.
From Jan. 18 through the last game on the season, Rees went on to have three more multi-point efforts, all of which came over his final three games. In his 12 games this season, Rees racked up 11 points with four goals and seven assists. Between the matchups against the New York Riptide, San Diego Seals and Colorado Mammoth, Rees combined for seven points, including a pair of goals in that span.