Two Quebec lacrosse players, Patrick Hargreaves (above) and Mark Kirby, respectively had strong showings for the Rochester Knighthawks and Toronto Rock during an NLL preseason game on Saturday at Bell Centre in Montreal.
Two Quebec lacrosse players were given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity during the Toronto Rock’s 14-10 win over the Rochester Knighthawks in National Lacrosse League preseason action last Saturday at Bell Centre in Montreal.
After beating out 33 other players during a selection camp tryout last month, Patrick Hargreaves and Mark Kirby, two locals from the Quebec Senior Lacrosse League and Quebec Lacrosse Federation, were respectively chosen by the Knighthawks and Rock to play in the exhibition game.
Hargreaves is a 39-year-old defenseman for the Vermont Voyageurs. The 2012 Voyageurs assistant captain and 2011 QSLL All-Star was announced as a starter for the Knighthawks and collected one loose ball while playing on the back-end.
“It was a dream come true,” Hargreaves said. “For sure I wanted to win, but at the end of the day, I had fun. It was fast and now I know what’s happening out there. I just wish luck to everyone on the team.”
The physical education teacher at Mont-De-La Salle High School in Laval, Quebec can take what he learned from his experience to teach his teammates a lesson on how defense is played in the pros.
“On defense, it’s really not the same thing,” Hargreaves said. “Different positioning, a lot of speed and going in the middle because usually we just go in our ‘office’ as we say. Now it’s really different, easier to play.”
The Quebec native has admittedly become the Knighthawks’ newest fan. Hargreaves hopes the exhibition matchup, with an announced attendance of 7,269, has sparked enough interest for the game of lacrosse in his hometown so that Montreal might host an NLL team again someday.
“I hope there will be a team,” he said. “A game like that every week without hockey – it could pick up really easily. For sure, the NLL is welcome in Montreal.”
For Toronto, Kirby didn’t have to wait very long to make his presence felt on the floor. A mere 31 seconds into the contest, the 5-foot-7, 197-pound Kahnawake native collected a rebound off of a blocked shot by Stephan LeBlanc and buried it past Rochester goaltender Matt Vinc on the second-chance opportunity.
"Coach sent me out there on the first shift,” Kirby said. “I wasn’t expecting that. I got the ball in my stick for the first shot of the game. Nice move, [but] the goalie saved it. I wish that would have gone in, but I’ll take the second one any day.”
In 2010, Kirby finished with a career-high 104 points (53+51) for the Kahnawake Mohawks and was tied for second in the QSLL with 53 goals. On Saturday, he finished his professional debut with two points (1+1).
“The kid was sensational,” said Rock head coach Troy Cordingley. “[Kirby] fits into our offensive mold. He moves and sees the ball real well. He’s got real sweet hands. I thought he was going to score earlier in that shift, but the ball finds him. I’m sure he opened some eyes.”
“There were a lot of people in the stands today,” Kirby added. “They were all screaming from the moment it started until the end. I just hope Montreal gets a team back. It would be a great honor to come watch all these guys play again. Maybe I’ll be out there.”