The Rochester Knighthawks and Toronto Rock have both selected a Quebec player to participate in their NLL preseason game on Saturday, Dec. 15 at Bell Centre in Montreal.
The Rochester Knighthawks and Toronto Rock have both selected a Quebec player to participate in their National Lacrosse League preseason game on Saturday, Dec. 15 at Bell Centre in Montreal.
Patrick Hargreaves, a 39-year-old teacher from Montreal, will play for the Knighthawks while 25-year-old Mark Kirby from Kahnawake suits up for the Rock after impressive showings by the two at a local tryout camp earlier this month.
Hargreaves ranked first at the selection camp in the areas of conditioning, defensive ability and physical strength. The physical education teacher at Mont-De-La Salle High School in Laval was surprised at work on Wednesday with an official team jersey as a CBC television crew captured the moment on camera here.
"I've been waiting, it's a real surprise," Hargreaves said. "I have class in an hour so I'm going to try to teach. I think I'll wear the jersey all day just to show the kids that when they persevere, there is a nice goal to go for."
The two stars of the Québec Lacrosse Federation were chosen after the Québec Lacrosse Showcase on Nov. 17 at Le Club West Island in Beaconsfield. Hargreaves and Kirby beat out 33 other members of the Federation for the honor of playing with the pro teams in addition to an outside shot of making their opening night roster.
“Selecting a kid to participate in a game between rivals like us and Toronto is a great chance to showcase our organizations and provide the experience needed to play at this level,” said Knighthawks assistant general manager Landon Miller. "We will always be an organization that steps up to promote the game anywhere. It's not only an organizational mandate. It has cultural importance for myself and [Knighthawks owner] Curt Styres."
The 5-foot-7, 197-pound Kirby has played the last four seasons with the Kahnawake Mohawks of the Quebec Sr. B Lacrosse League (QSLL). The goal scorer is known for his ability to charge the net with both agility and efficiency. Kirby spent his entire junior lacrosse career with Akwesasne, suiting up for three seasons with their Jr. B club before playing his final two years with the Jr. A team.
“My family was encouraging me to go to the camp,” Kirby said. “I didn’t really want to go initially, but the camp was a great experience. Every time I was out there, I went as hard as I could and left it all out there.”
In 2010, Kirby finished second in the QSLL in goals and third in the league in scoring after posting 104 points (53+51) in 22 games.
“I felt pretty good after the camp,” Kirby said. “I hoped it would be Toronto who picked me up and really thought there was a chance it could happen. When I found out [they were] going to pick me up, I was pretty happy to say the least.”
Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. exhibition game between the Knighthawks and Rock on Saturday, Dec. 15 at Bell Centre, home of the NHL's Montreal Canadiens, can be purchased online here.