December 24, 2009

NLL: Knighthawks Take Flight with Vets at Controls

from press release

The Rochester Knighthawks could have as many as 12 new players in their lineup this season after a busy offseason by Owner and General Manager Curt Styres. With the season just two weeks away, the K-Hawks announced a retooled roster set at making a run in the 2010 Champion’s Cup Playoffs.

“We had to make some tough decisions. We are so deep on offense and defense that it’s tough for young guys to come in and play,” said Styres. “We have a lot of veterans on the team and it’s always good to have a mix of experienced guys with one or two young guys.”

Rochester heads into the season with a very seasoned group, boasting 12 players that will begin their fifth season or better. In fact, seven of those players have played a decade or more in the NLL. With the roster set, Rochester will now prepare to open their 16th season on Saturday, Jan. 9 against the Buffalo Bandits.

“I am happy with the commitment level of the players on the roster,” said Styres.

Two of the keys players returning to the team this season include John Grant and Scott Evans, who both missed last season with injuries. In 2009, the Knighthawks were without their top two scorers, which accounted for 91 goals in 2008.

Rochester also added Cory Bomberry, Peter Jacobs and Andrew Potter to the offense. “Bomber” enters his 14th season in the NLL and has 231 goals and 408 assists in 175 games. He played in Rochester from 1997 to 2003 and won the ’97 Cup with the K-Hawks. Jacobs arrives in Rochester after playing in 27 games with the Portland LumberJax in two seasons and recorded 31 goals, 21 assists and 94 loose balls. Potter adds some scoring to the Knighthawks’ offense. This summer, he led the Ontario Lacrosse Association Junior "A" circuit with 125 points (51g, 74a) in 22 games. They will complement returning forwards Shawn Williams, Shawn Evans, Gary Gait, Craig Point, Jason Henhawk and Jamie Rooney.

The defense/transition team also underwent some changes with the addition of first-overall pick Sid Smith, Scott Ditzell (after one year off) and Kevin Fines (Minnesota). They join a lineup that includes stars like Steve Toll, Chris Schiller, Mac Allen, Bobby McBride, Joe Walters, Joel McCready and Kyle Laverty. Toll begins his 13th season in the league and ranks third in NLL history with 1,318 loose balls. Toll leads the Big Three on defense that also includes veterans Schiller (ninth season) and Laverty (10th season).

In goal, Pat O’Toole returns for his 16th season of professional lacrosse and 12th as a member of the Knighthawks. He is second in league history in saves (6,093) and is just 264 away from breaking Dallas Eliuk’s league record of 6,356. He is joined by goalie Aaron Bold, who was acquired from Minnesota in the offseason. In his career, Bold has a record of 5-4, and owns an 11.87 goals-against average. He signed a three-year deal with Rochester today.

The practice features newcomers Brandon Turner (Coquitlam) and Donny Moss (Long Island-MLL). Veteran goalie Jake Henhawk rounds out the Knighthawks’ practice squad. Newly acquired Matt Danowski was placed on the team’s protected list. In other news, forward Ken Millin announced his retirement.

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