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Stories/Op-Ed

National Lacrosse League’S #Faceoffwknd Begins Thursday

Thursday, December 29th

The 31st season in the storied history of the National Lacrosse League begins this Thursday, December 29th, as the Toronto Rock head south of the boarder to take on the Rochester Knighthawks in a battle of East Division rivals. Faceoff is set for 7:30 P.M. ET at the Blue Cross Arena.

Both teams will want to start the new campaign off on the right foot after finishing with the two worst records in the East Division last season.

The Toronto Rock will look to carry over momentum from a preseason in which they went a perfect 3-0. The Rock will enter the new season without Colin Doyle. Doyle had been the Captain of the Rock for the past seven seasons, and is the franchise leader in games played, goals, assists, and points. Toronto named Brodie Merrill as the new Captain on December 20th.

This year’s Rochester Knighthawks squad features 10 new faces, four of whom were selected in the 2016 NLL Draft. In three preseason games, rookie Kyle Jackson led the team with 13 points, exciting Knighthawks’ fans for the future in the process. Rochester also signed six free agents this offseason in an attempt to retool their roster.

Friday, December 30th

The defending East Division Champion Buffalo Bandits begin their quest to return to the Champion’s Cup Final on Friday, December 30th, as they host the Colorado Mammoth. Faceoff is at 7:30 P.M. ET at KeyBank Center.

Both Buffalo and Colorado will look to build upon the success they had last season, where they finished with the league’s first and third best records respectively.

The Bandits will be led by 2016 NLL MVP Dhane Smith, who finished the year with 137 points, including 72 goals. Smith’s 137 points were good for most all time in a single NLL season, topping the previous mark of 130 set in 2015 by Shawn Evans.

The Mammoth will look to erase the sting left after a heartbreaking end to the 2016 season, losing at home in overtime to the Calgary Roughnecks in the West Division Semi-final. With 17 of the team’s 20 man roster the same as a year ago, Colorado has high hopes for another successful year.

Make sure to follow the NLL’s coverage on social media all season long, and join the conversation using the hashtag #NLL. Updates and game recaps can be found at NLL.com.

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