Rochester honors 2014 title & league-record championship three-peat
While some National Lacrosse League teams were opening training camp this past weekend, the Rochester Knighthawks were busy wrapping up the 2014 season. The players, management, coaches and staff gathered together for one final time to reflect on their historic third straight NLL Champion’s Cup win during their championship ring ceremony.
“It’s good to look back. In this day and age we always look forward and we forget the good things we did,” said Assistant Captain Mike Kirk. “So, it’s great to see all the guys and the family members and reflect on what we accomplished last year.”
Owner and General Manager Curt Styres and his staff hosted over 100 guests at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena banquet hall. The Championship Banquet Sunday afternoon was complete with a championship video, speeches and a special presentation to the Knighthawks by Six Nations Elected Chief Ava Hill. Chief Hill presented Styres and Assistant General Manager Landon Miller with two framed photographs commemorating the team’s 2014 Championship Season.
The Champion’s Cup marked yet another title the Six Nations community has celebrated in the past seven months.
“I congratulate you on your historic season,” said Chief Hill, who also thanked the players, coaches and staff from Six Nations on the Knighthawks. “Lacrosse has a long tradition in Six Nations. We have 56 Six Nations members in the Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame and 13 in the Canadian Hall of Fame.”
The event concluded with the 2014 Championship ring presentation. Each one-of-a-kind ring was personalized to highlight individuals and family members who have had an impact on a person’s life. The face of the gold rings was emblazoned with three Champion’s Cups – one for each of the championships won during the latest title run. The 2014 trophy was front and center and included five stones in the base to signify the number of titles won by the organization.
“It’s always good, especially after a year like we had last year, to get together with the guys, the rest of the staff and our families,” said defenseman Scott Self. “Curt puts on a great experience for everyone. It was awesome.”
It was like Christmas morning as the players, coaches and staff opened the wooden ring boxes to reveal the newest championship ring. It was one of the many gifts that everyone received, which included scrapbooks – complete with each game DVD – a commemorative yearbook and game ball.
“When Curt does something, he always does it right,” said forward Dan Dawson, as he marveled at the piece of hardware on his left hand. “Every year, he does it bigger and better. We are very fortunate to have an owner that cares about us more as a person than as a player.”
Dawson was named the Championship Game MVP after his three goals, which included the game winner, and four assists in Game Two of the NLL Championship Series. He then picked up an assist on Craig Point’s game-winning goal in the final minute of the 10-minute mini-game. The victory over the Calgary Roughnecks on May 31 was a testament to the character of the team.
“It was a credit to them because it was intense. It was tight,” said Head Coach Mike Hasen. “Throughout the whole year, everybody was loose. They knew the job at hand and just went out and did it.”
The Knighthawks will return to the turf on Saturday, November 17 as they take part in fitness testing and practice at Total Sports Experience in East Rochester. The players will hold a 5-8 p.m. session, which is free and open to the public. For Dawson, who is entering his 14th season in the NLL, the Championship Banquet was a perfect way to make the transition from 2014 to this season.
“It’s nice to reflect and enjoy this moment, but if you know our dressing room this is a way to move on and focus on the next chapter, which is the 2015 season,” said Dawson. “It’s nice that you get to see the guys heading into Training Camp, but we’re definitely looking forward to our next challenge which is 2015.”