July 28, 2009

NLL: K'Hawks Slap Franchise Tag on Grant

from press release

Rochester Knighthawks General Manager Regy Thorpe announced today that the team has designated forward John Grant as the franchise player for the 2010 National Lacrosse League season. The Knighthawks also sent qualifying offers to forwards Shawn Evans, Jamie Rooney, and Dean Hill.

The franchise tag on a player, who has qualified to be an Unrestricted Free Agent, keeps that player off the free agent market and ensures that he remains with the Knighthawks for the 2010 season. Goalie Pat O'Toole is also one of the team's franchise players and is already under contract for the upcoming season. He enters his 16th season of professional lacrosse in 2010 and 12th as a member of the Knighthawks.

Grant returns to the team after missing the 2009 season with an injury. He has since played in three games with the Peterborough Lakers of Major Series Lacrosse and has five goals and five assists in his comeback bid. He notched three goals and two assists on July 9th, which was his first game back since August 26, 2008. Grant underwent three surgeries, including reconstructive knee surgery in January, in addition to having to undergo a series of physical therapy and rehabilitation exercises.

Grant completed his ninth season with the Rochester Knighthawks in 2008. He stands as the team's all-time leader in goals (394), assists (417) and points (811). In NLL history, Grant is also fifth in goals, eighth in assists and sixth in points. He is a five-time NLL First Team All-Pro (2000, 2000-01, 2005, 2006 and 2007), and a two-time Second Team member (2001-02 and 2002-03). In 2007, he guided the Knighthawks to the NLL 2007 Champion's Cup and was named the Championship Game MVP. In addition, he earned regular season MVP honors. Grant was also the 2000 NLL Rookie of the Year.

Rochester also made an offer to Grant's Peterborough Lakers teammate, Shawn Evans. The forward enters his fifth season with the Knighthawks in 2010. In 2009, Evans set career highs for assists (49) and points (79). The Peterborough, Ontario, native was also second on the team in both categories and led the Knighthawks with 30 goals.

Rooney was made a qualifying offer after completing his first season with the Knighthawks. He collected five goals and three assists in seven games after arriving in Rochester following a trade with the New York Titans on March 17, 2009. Before getting traded, he registered seven goals, seven assists and 30 loose balls with the Titans. In his career, he has 32 goals, 33 assists and 105 loose balls in 32 games. He completed his second season in the National Lacrosse League in 2009. In the summer, he plays for the Kitchener-Waterloo Kodiaks of Major Series Lacrosse.

Dean Hill was the final player tendered a qualifying offer. He enters his second season with the Knighthawks and fifth in the NLL in 2010. He recorded five points (2+3) in three games with Rochester in 2009. When he was acquired by Rochester last season, he was fourth on the Minnesota Swarm in points with 11 (2+9) in four games. The Six Nations product played in Minnesota for three plus seasons (2006-09) and collected 49 goals and 41 assists in 27 games. He plays in the summer for the Victoria Shamrocks of the Western Lacrosse Association.    

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