NLL — For the second time in his career, Rochester Knighthawks’ Curt Styres has been named the National Lacrosse League General Manager of the Year. The award is the fourth won by the Knighthawks this offseason after an incredible run to the 2018 NLL Finals.
“I am honored to win the General Manager of the Year,” said Styres. “There are so many great organizations out there that it’s tough to say who’s better, who’s luckier. I think we are all good at what we do. But as the old cliché says, ‘the harder you work, the luckier you get.’”
Styres completed his eighth season as the team’s general manager in 2017-18. During his tenure, the Knighthawks have advanced to the playoffs six times, reached the Finals on four occasions and won a league-record three straight championships from 2012-14. In 2011, he was named the winner of the General Manager of the Year and Executive of the Year awards.
Styres admitted that this year’s honor was again the result of the hard work and dedication of the Knighthawks’ lacrosse operations staff.
“The General Manager of the Year award is more of a team recognition because of the success we had this year,” he said. “We have the biggest staff in the league because being a GM requires you to wear so many hats.
“Being surrounded by so many good people makes the job a lot easier. Sometimes you have to be at seven arenas in one night. No one person can do that and watch all the potential players and do assessments on them. I would like to thank Duane Jacobs, Jeremy Henhawk, Stu Brown, Gewas Schindler, Kevin Hill, Bruce Clark, Jody Gage, Tom Cincebox, Tracy Johnson, Paul Gait and Brian Hobart.”
The Knighthawks owner and general manager especially recognized the behind-the-scenes work of Hill and Clark, who are two of the veterans of the group. Although often out of the spotlight, they have worked together since 2012 to provide the Knighthawks with detailed, up-to-date information on players out west. More importantly, they both played a major role in the team’s run to three straight titles.
Hill, who hails from Six Nations, enters his ninth season with Rochester in 2018-19. The Knighthawks have benefitted from his vast knowledge of the game. Since first playing lacrosse when he was 5 years old, he has been involved with lacrosse for over three decades as a player, coach and executive. The former goalie’s playing career spanned 19 seasons and ended in 2017 with the Ladner Pioneers of the West Coast Senior Lacrosse Association.
Styres was honored with the NLL General Manager of the Year award because he has been the man behind-the-scenes orchestrating moves at every level of the organization.
“I am really happy for Curt because he’s done an amazing job, not only putting a great staff of coaches and scouts together but retooling our whole team,” said Knighthawks VP of Player Personnel Jody Gage. “He loves this game and loves the players, so it’s nice to see all the hard work rewarded with this honor.”
“Curt Styres is more than deserving of this General Manager of the Year award,” said Knighthawks Alternative Governor Gewas Schindler. “He put together an amazing staff and an amazing draft. It all started at this time last year when we were preparing for the draft. It was a team effort with the group; they did all the work, and it paid off. Curt did a great job of being the leader of that group and putting all the pieces together.”
When learning that he was receiving the award, Styres also pointed out that the coaches – which included head coach Mike Hasen, and assistants Mike Accursi, Pat O’Toole, Jason Johnson and Marshall Abrams – did an incredible job getting production from their young core of players.
“The whole coaching staff last year trained the younger guys to play like veterans, even though they were first-year guys,” said Styres. “They got a lot out of them. That had a lot to do with their teaching methods and how they set high expectations.”