The Rochester Knighthawks have re-signed veteran defenseman Ian Llord to a two-year deal. The seven-year NLL pro ended his first season in Rochester with the second Champion’s Cup of his career.
“Ian is a reliable vet who provides stability to our defense,” said Knighthawks Team Captain Sid Smith.
The St. Catharines, Ontario native returns to the back-to-back National Lacrosse League Champions after winning three lacrosse titles in 2013. In fact, he achieved one of the greatest feats in lacrosse by winning the Champion’s, Presidents’ and Mann Cups all in the same year.
“Right now you don’t really want to let it sink in because you want to keep playing,” he said. “It is something when I am older, and I am watching my kids play, that I can look back on and say that was a pretty fun year. It is definitely something I can be proud of.”
Llord captured his first title of 2013 on May 11th, as the Knighthawks won their second straight NLL Championship after edging the Washington Stealth 11-10. Winning the Champion’s Cup started a run of three Cups in five months. On September 1st, Llord raised his second championship trophy, winning the Presidents’ Cup with the St. Catharines Saints. The Saints downed the host Kahnawake Mohawks 8-5 to capture the Canadian Senior “B” Championship.
Later that week, he was off to Victoria to play in the Mann Cup. It took six games, but the Six Nations Chiefs and Ian Llord captured the 100-year-old trophy, which is awarded to the senior men’s lacrosse champions of Canada. On September 13th, Llord shared the win with four of his Rochester teammates, as he was joined by Craig Point, Cody Jamieson, Stephen Keogh and Johnny Powless.
“All the guys are great. I grew up playing against Sid, Cody and Pointer in junior, major and professional lacrosse,” said Llord. “It is usually the guys you compete against the hardest on the floor that you like the best off the floor. That holds true for those three. I got to hang out with them after we won in Six Nations and it was a lot of fun.”
The 28-year-old Llord and his teammates will get back to work on Saturday. This season, Llord comes to camp as a full-fledged member of the Knighthawks. Prior to the 2013 season, he was trying out to crack the 23-man roster. The two-year deal has the veteran of 90 NLL games very anxious to get camp underway.
“I think my experience and coming into camp in good shape (will benefit me this season). I played a lot of lacrosse this year and kept my stick in my hands,” he said. “I have to go out there, work hard and show them I am ready to come back and be an asset to the team.”
Llord arrived in Rochester after spending five of his six seasons in the NLL with the Knighthawks’ thruway rivals, the Buffalo Bandits. He was drafted in the first round by Philadelphia in the 2006 NLL Entry Draft and spent the 2007 season with the Wings. He was eventually traded to Buffalo, where he played 65 games with the Bandits since 2008. In his first season with Buffalo, Llord won the 2008 Champion’s Cup alongside current Knighthawk Mike Accursi.
The second Cup, however, meant more to Llord because of the road he took to win the NLL’s top prize. Llord earned a starting spot on the defending champs after signing with the Knighthawks after attending their Free Agent Camp.
“I was lucky to win one my first couple of years in the league. This one meant a lot more because I felt this time I had more of an impact,” he said. “I think it meant a little more with Curt (Styres) flying my wife and son in. Everybody else had family there and I got along with everyone really well on the team. As you get older, it means a little more.”
In 2013, Llord played in 14 games with the Knighthawks and notched one goal, two assists and 42 loose balls. He also appeared in all three of the team’s playoff games, which ended with an NLL Championship. The addition of Llord added some more grit to the Knighthawks’ defense.
“He is a good stay-at-home defenseman and helps the goalies with his willingness to sacrifice his body to block shots,” added Assistant Coach Jason Johnson. “He is one of the big guys on the team that is ready to do the dirty work.”
One player that really appreciates his style of play is three-time NLL Goalie of the Year Matt Vinc. “Vno” grew up playing with Llord and the two won a Minto Cup title together in 2003 with the St. Catharines Athletics. He was glad to hear that the team locked up Llord for two more seasons.
“I have won two championships with Llordy. He does all the little things that make him a great ‘D’ guy,” he said. “Whether it is playing hard-nose defense or blocking shots, he lays it on the line and does whatever it takes to win.”