The back-to-back NLL champion Rochester Knighthawks have re-signed forward Dan Dawson long-term with a seven-year deal. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)
One day after re-signing Matt Vinc and Sid Smith to multi-year deals, Rochester Knighthawks owner and general manager Curt Styres has re-signed forward Dan Dawson to a seven-year contract, pending league approval.
Dawson, who could have tested the open market as an unrestricted free agent, decided instead to remain a Knighthawk for the remainder of his National Lacrosse League career.
“It allows me to play for Curt and play out my career in Rochester,” said the 31-year-old Dawson. “When you have a leader and an owner that cares about his players more so off the floor than on the floor, it really makes your decision to sign and end your career under Curt that much easier. It is truly an honor playing for him and I am excited to make a serious run at the championship this year.”
By re-signing Dawson, Rochester retains one of the most prolific scorers and playmakers in NLL history. The Oakville, Ontario native stands seventh on the NLL’s all-time assist (577) and points (946) lists. He also has 369 goals in 187 career games. In the NLL Playoffs, he is second in assists (73), fourth in points (118) and seventh in goals (45).
The Knighthawks acquired the seven-time NLL All-Pro and former NLL MVP in a six-player, two draft pick deal with Philadelphia on December 14, 2012. The trade, which also sent his brother Paul to Rochester, rejuvenated his career.
“It was exciting being able to get traded to the defending champions. To add my brother to that was something special. It was a great opportunity and I just wanted to make the most of it,” said Dawson.
In 2013, the veteran completed his 12th season in the NLL with his first NLL Championship. Dawson finished the regular season second on the Knighthawks in points (75) and assists (52). He was equally as dangerous in the playoffs, as he led Rochester in goals (six) and finished tied with Cody Jamieson with 14 points in three games. In the Championship Game, he scored one goal and chipped in four assists to help the Knighthawks defeat the Washington Stealth to defend their NLL title. It was a memorable trip to Langley, BC for Dan, Paul and their father, Joe.
“Family is everything to me. When I am done playing lacrosse, the thing I am going to be most proud of and cherish the most was being able to play with my brother. To add a championship to that was remarkable,” said Dan Dawson. “Curt is a big believer in family and having a great support staff around you. We’re very lucky to have both our parents. They are a huge inspiration to both Paul and I, which has allowed us to get where we are today.”
Prior to coming to Rochester, “Dangerous Dan” finished third in the NLL in points (103) and second in assists (78) in 2012. He was named a First Team All-Pro and finished third in the MVP race. In his career, he has played for six teams, starting in 2001-02. Dawson has played in all 16 regular season games for 11 consecutive years (2002-13) and has appeared in 179 straight games, which is the fourth-longest streak in NLL history.
More impressive than his ironman streak is his knack for winning championships. On the international scene, he has won gold with Team Canada at the 2007 and 2011 World Indoor Lacrosse Championships. He also claimed a silver medal in 2010 with Team Canada at the FIL World Lacrosse Championships.
This week, he was named Team Canada’s captain for the international exhibition game against the Iroquois Nationals set for November 17th. One week after the game in Montreal, Dawson will attend Knighthawks Training Camp with the goal of bringing a third straight NLL Championship to Rochester. He will again play a significant role in the team’s plans to defend the Cup.
“Dan is a presence on and off the floor and everything he does is team first,” said Knighthawks head coach Mike Hasen. “He is calming influence on the floor and in our locker room. We expect big things from him for a long time to come.”