The Rochester Knighthawks announced their 20-man roster and practice squad on December 19 for the 2017 season. The Knighthawks have strengthened their roster by stocking this year’s club with draft picks, free agents and a key veteran.
This year’s team features 10 new faces, including four players selected in this past September’s National Lacrosse League Entry Draft. Josh Currier, Kyle Jackson, Dan Lomas and Luke Laszkiewicz all earned spots on the roster. During the preseason, Jackson and Currier were two of the team’s best forwards. In three games, Jackson led the Knighthawks with 13 points, while Currier chipped in six goals and one assist in two games.
“I’ve been dreaming of getting to the NLL my whole life, so I’m very excited to get the year started,” said Currier.
Laszkiewicz and Lomas will start the season on the practice roster, as will free agent defenseman John Rae. Rae is one of five free agents that the Knighthawks signed to reloaded their roster. He joins defensemen Luc Magnan and Tyler Ferreira, forward Wayne Van Every, and forward/transition man and Jarrett Davis. Ferreira will even play some offence with Cory Vitarelli on the injured reserve list.
Davis, who is the veteran of the free agent group, has played six seasons in the NLL – two of those with the Knighthawks. The three-time NLL champion served as an alternate captain for the past three seasons with the Edmonton/Saskatchewan Rush.
The Knighthawks also acquired veteran transition man Andrew Suitor in an offseason trade. Although starting on the injured reserve list, Suitor will still have a big impact once he returns to the lineup. The seven-year pro, who has been a five-time team captain, brings leadership and grittiness to the Rochester defence.
Rochester also has a solid core of players back from the 2016 campaign. The Knighthawks welcome back familiar names on defence in Adam Bomberry, Scott Campbell, Paul Dawson, Dylan Evans, Brad Gillies, Graeme Hossack, Ian Llord and Sid Smith. Bomberry starts the season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list and will provide depth when he gets back into the lineup. Joel Matthews shifts from offense to defence this season to maximize his toughness and speed in transition.
“We have a nice mix of solid stay at home ‘D’ guys and transition threats, and veterans and young studs,” said Campbell. “We will be difficult to play against again and will also have a much more dangerous transition game versus past years. I am just excited (to get started).”
On offence, Dan Dawson, Stephen Keogh, Quinn Powless, Joe Resetarits, Vitarelli and Cody Jamieson are back for the teal and purple. Dawson led the team with 40 goals and finished the 2016 season second on the team in points with 95. Jamieson, who is on the PUP list to start 2017, returns for his seventh season. Last season, he led the Knighthawks with 64 assists and 99 points.
“He is a great player and leader on and off the floor,” said Knighthawks head coach Mike Hasen. “He makes everyone around him better when he steps on the floor.”
The Knighthawks will open their 23rd season in the National Lacrosse League on Thursday, Dec. 29 when they host the Toronto Rock at 7:30 p.m. at Connors & Ferris Field at The Blue Cross Arena.