The Rochester Knighthawks made history drafting goaltender Brandon Styres and recently signed him. (Photo: Dave Abel)
Before the Rochester Knighthawks opened training camp with their first practice, Curt Styres went to lunch with his son Brandon. What happened that afternoon is something the Styres family may never forget.
At the 2013 National Lacrosse League Entry Draft in September, the Knighthawks owner and general manager became the first to draft his own son. On Saturday, Nov. 23, Styres signed his son to his first professional lacrosse contract, making him a member of the back-to-back league champions.
“We went for lunch after the fitness tests. He handed me this paper and said to take a look at it. I looked in there, and I was reading it and reading it. It had my name on there; it was the contract,” Brandon said. “I kept reading and my smile just got a mile wider every time I was reading further and further. Finally it said signature; I just signed it, folded it back up and gave it back to my dad. He signed it, and then stood up and shook my hand and said, ‘Welcome to Rochester.’”
“It’s an honor for one,” Curt said. “Not too many people have that opportunity (to sign their son), and I’m going to enjoy it as long as I can.”
Rochester’s newest goaltender casts a shadow over his father when standing by his side. Brandon is listed at 6-2, 224 pounds, and his broad frame presents a large obstacle for shooters to overcome. Teammates Cody Jamieson and Johnny Powless were impressed with Styres’ debut.
“By the end there he got a little tired, but that’s what you expect out of a young goalie. There are some good shooters out here and he stood in there,” Jamieson said. “I think he’s a big body that, when he plays his angles right, is tough to score on.”
“I think Brandon did pretty well,” Powless added. “We had that fitness test this morning, and that was pretty tiring. But all in all, I thought he did pretty well tonight.”
Styres has also been taken under the wing of the league’s best goaltender and a soon-to-be NLL Hall of Famer. With Goaltending Coach Pat O’Toole giving him pointers, Styres took the net opposite of Matt Vinc in the team’s scrimmages on Sunday.
“He looked pretty comfortable in the net,” said Vinc, winner of the 2013 NLL Goaltender of the Year Award. “He’s just got to keep doing what he’s doing, keep working hard, and taking as many shots as you can. That’s what makes the difference between a good goalie and a goalie that’s just not going to make it. I think if he just does what he’s been doing, he’ll have a good chance.”
“He’s doing pretty well,” O’Toole said. “He’s covering a lot of the net and moving pretty good…he impressed me pretty good today, just blocking a lot of the net and making the movements when he had to.”
Every practice ends with the entire team lining up to take shots on the goalies, and Curt often participates. While trying to block everyone else’s shots, Brandon thought about letting his father, and now his boss, score a goal.
“There was one I didn’t even move, but he shot at me. I was trying to let him score, but you can’t help it when he shoots at you,” said Brandon with a laugh.
Curt’s response: “I’ll get him.”