Rochester Knighthawks Owner, Governor and General Manager Curt Styres has announced that he has appointed Gewas Schindler as the Alternate Governor for the franchise.
“I couldn’t be more honored to be asked to be on the Board of Governors,” said Schindler. “It’s the next step in my life to be a part of something at such a high level and work for a world-class organization like the Knighthawks.”
The National Lacrosse League’s Board of Governors is comprised of a Governor and Alternate Governor from each of the nine teams. They have input on all of the major business decisions of the league. Schindler made his debut as the Knighthawks Alternate Governor at the league’s quarterly meetings on August 9th in Philadelphia.
“I got to know Gewas during a visit to the Six Nations Territory earlier this year. He is not only a terrific individual, but a decorated player and well-respected businessman,” said NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz. “As a former player, I think it is awesome that we are beginning to see a number of former players take leadership roles. Gewas will be a great addition to the membership of our Board of Governors and we welcome him.”
Schindler, 40, brings an extensive knowledge of lacrosse to the position, having played and worked at the professional and international levels. Born in Onondaga Nation, and taught the game by his grandfather, Onondaga Chief Paul Waterman, Schindler has been a pioneer for the Iroquois Lacrosse program. Eight times he was selected to represent his nation on the world stage. More impressive has been his work since retiring as a player. For the past five and half years, he has served as a coach, general manager and director for the Iroquois Nationals.
“I have great respect for what he has done for the Onondaga Nation and the Iroquois,” said New England Black Wolves Co-Owner Michael French. “He is a great ambassador and I am glad he is in our league. I was happy to see him at the (Board of Governors’) table with Curt.”
Schindler’s greatest success was on display last year as he helped the Iroquois earn their first bid to host an international lacrosse event on indigenous lands. He was part of a group that secured the 2015 FIL World Indoor Lacrosse Championship, which was played in Onondaga Nation.
“Being able to host for the first time as our own country, our own sovereign nation was huge on many levels. It was not only big for lacrosse, but for establishing our sovereignty as our own people, the Haudenosaunee – People of the Longhouse. It really meant a lot to ‘bring the game back home,’” said Schindler. “All the nations that represent our confederacy were able to come and be a part of such an epic, world-class tournament. I think it will be a launching pad for box lacrosse internationally.”
Schindler’s role as a builder and advocate of the game, however, predates his involvement with the 2015 World Indoors. In 2010, he worked with Curt Styres in establishing the Bowhunter Cup, which served as an international exhibition game between the Iroquois and the United States. It was during that period, when he was transitioning from player to lacrosse executive, that Schindler and Styres began their business relationship.
“That was a time when I started to know him well,” said Schindler about the Bowhunter Cup event. “It was in 2009, when he invited me into camp, that I first I met him and spent several weeks with the Knighthawks.”
Since hanging up his stick, Schindler has remained close to Styres and the Knighthawks.
“(For the past seven years), I have had a family connection to the team,” he said. “We are diehard Knighthawks fans and we don’t miss many games. I still miss playing, but it’s something I always want to be around and I love the NLL.”
Knighthawks team captain Sid Smith, who has known Schindler for over a decade, said he is a good fit for his new role.
“He has a lot of experience in the international game and is pretty well-respected in the international lacrosse community,” said Smith. “He will have some positive input for the organization.”
Schindler and Styres have continued to work on projects to grow the game of lacrosse. In 2015, they collaborated to establish the groundbreaking U19 World Lacrosse Challenge. The event, held at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena in Six Nations, featured 12 countries including the Iroquois, USA, Canada, Israel, Czech Republic, Nordic and Germany.
Just one year later, two of the most passionate promoters of the sport will sit side-by-side at the league’s Board of Governors’ table. Schindler, who excelled collegiately at Loyola College and during his eight seasons in the NLL, now enters a new phase in his lacrosse career with the Knighthawks.
“It is very humbling and I was very honored to be asked (to join the organization),” he said. “I am very fortunate to already have that chemistry with the staff, ownership and the players.”