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Catching Up With... Chris Schiller

08/20/2003, 3:06pm EDT
By National Lacrosse League

Rochester Knighthawks defenseman Chris Schiller has just completed his third season: with the Buffalo Bills. The K-hawks defenseman has been the full-time premium-seating sales representative for the Buffalo Bills in his hometown of Rochester for the last three seasons. "About 25% of the fans at Bills home games come from Rochester," said Schiller. Rochester is not only loyal to its hometown Knighthawks, but are also devoted to the Bills, who are just a short drive away on the New York State Thruway. "With smaller markets you get the big time loyalty", remarked Chris. "I would compare our fans to any city nationwide including Green Bay". His job is especially important to the Bills organization considering the common frigid weather Buffalo receives during the winter months. Bills tickets are the hottest in Western New York and the team is already close to selling out several of its eight home games at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

The Bills showed their appreciation to the fans of Rochester by first placing a merchandise and ticket store in nearby Pittsford for the last five years. Then three years ago the Bills moved their summer training camp to nearby St. John Fisher College outside of Rochester. As Chris said, "Rochester is the Bills second city."

Of course Chris must stay in good shape over the summer so that he may continue his excellent play in the upcoming NLL season. Schiller also plays outdoor professional lacrosse in his hometown of Rochester. He is fortunate to be one of the few players in the league to play for his hometown team. "Its great to be playing at home in front of friends and family", Schiller said. "If I was ever traded, it might mean an early retirement from pro lacrosse."

In 2001 Chris was a member of the Champion's Cup winning Philadelphia Wings but mainly as a practice player. "I have a ring, but I don't wear it out of respect for the guys who were actually on the floor," said Schiller. Although he said he had an amazing experience in Philadelphia, he loves playing for the Knighthawks. Schiller has a style of play that easily fit into the Knighthawks lineup and made him a great asset to their success, playing in all sixteen games over the course of the season. Schiller also led Knighthawks defensemen in goals scored with 16 as well as placing fifth on the team picking up 93 loose balls. Chris also had the honor of being named NLL Rookie of the Week once during the past season. According to Schiller, the Knighthawks are still not over their loss in the 2003 Champion's Cup Final to Toronto. "We really wanted to win that one for Paul (Knighthawks coach Paul Day) and the fans," said Chris. "Of course the drive is still here and we can't wait to get back there and try again."

As Chris becomes an increasingly popular figure on the Rochester sports scene, he continues to be noticed more frequently while away from the game of lacrosse. "I've had several fans of the Knighthawks and Bills who came into our office specifically to buy tickets from me," said Chris. "The fans here are rabid about these teams." Chris and the Knighthawks are looking forward to December when the season begins in hopes that they can finally claim their title. For Bills fans who are interested in buying their tickets or merchandise from one of their favorite Knighthawks, contact Chris directly at the Bills store in Pittsford at (585) 387-0740 ext 23, or you can e-mail him at chriss@bills.nfl.com.

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