Knighthawks Hand Out Team Awards

he Rochester Knighthawks presented their team-voted awards following tonight’s game. The on-field ceremony honored individuals for their exceptional performances during the 2014 season.

Assistant Captain Cody Jamieson was voted as the Team MVP, sponsored by Ricoh. The Six Nations (Ontario) native led the Knighthawks this season with 34 goals and 65 assists, putting him at number one in points on the team for the third straight season. He currently sits in second place in the National Lacrosse League with 99 points.

“He’s done what he needs to do getting the ball in the net for us,” said Head Coach Mike Hasen. “He’s doing all the little things well and that’s showing on the score sheet for us.”

This award adds to his already impressive list of accomplishments for the Knighthawks, which include the 2012 team MVP and the 2011 Knighthawks Rookie of the Year. Jamieson was a member of the 2012 and 2013 championship teams where he became only the second player in NLL history to win back-to-back NLL Championship MVP titles. Jamieson’s highlights this season included an 11-point game on March 15th in a 17-12 win over the Toronto Rock as well as producing five Top 10 NLL Plays of the Week. He also netted his 100th career goal earlier this season in the January 25th game against the Buffalo Bandits.

“He exemplifies the Most Valuable Player when he’s playing, and when you need it the most, he takes the ball and goes to the net,” said Knighthawks Assistant Coach Pat O’Toole. “He does whatever he needs to do to bring that game or to bring the level of play up.”

Team Captain Sid Smith was named Best Defenseman for the 2014 season. Smith has collected 83 loose balls this season, fourth on the team. This marks his fourth time winning the award for the Knighthawks. Smith is a leader on the Knighthawks backend and uses his quiet force to help make the incredible defensive unit the best they can be.

“Sid is one of those quiet guys. But since we’ve given him the ‘C’, he’s been a bit more vocal out there,” said O’Toole. “He does everything for us that we ask him to. He’s always willing to go for a defenseman and the guys look up to that and follow suit. That’s why we have one of the better D’s that work hard all the time.”

Stephen Keogh was voted as the Knighthawks’ Offensive MVP, notching career highs in goals (30), assists (36) and points (66) this season.

“Over the summer he won a Mann Cup and he continued that here,” O’Toole said.
“He’s shooting the ball and also working hard off-ball and that’s the key. Whenever he’s out there, he is working hard non-stop. He’s always had the tools, and this year it’s all coming together. He’s had an unbelievable season.”

On April 5th, Keogh set a single-game high, recording eight points against the Minnesota Swarm. The third-year pro was a member of the 2012 and 2013 Championship teams and has become one of the key offensive players on the field for the Knighthawks.

“A lot can be said about Stevie,” Hasen said. “He’s back to where he was his rookie season. He has a lot of confidence. He’s moving his feet well, finding open guys and doing a lot of good things on the front end for us.”

The Wolf Pack Award, an award that is given to a player who has shown outstanding dedication and commitment to the team, was presented to Dylan Evans. Over the past year, the 26-year-old has added faceoffs to his set of skills, giving the Knighthawks an opportunity to excel in another aspect of their game.

“He’s added a new repertoire to his arsenal,” Hasen said. “He’s holding down faceoffs for us. He’s a guy that we put on the floor for defense regularly as well, and has done a lot of great things for us this year in that area too.”

Evans has taken 385 faceoffs this season, winning 190 to give him a 49.4 winning percentage, which is fifth best in the NLL. He is also second on the team in loose balls with 117.

“He exemplifies the Wolf Pack Award,” O’Toole said. “Dylan never misses practices; he’s a tenacious and solid defender. He took it upon himself to get better and help the team tremendously with getting that ball off the faceoffs and possessing it. It’s really helped our record to be able to get that ball off the faceoff and it’s been non-stop work for him but it’s paid off.”

For the fifth year in a row, Knighthawks forward and Rochester native Joe Walters was voted the winner of the Community Service Award. Walters has made giving back to the community a part of his everyday life. He has visited 16 schools and spoken in front of 5,000 kids in his hometown about the Knighthawks’ “We Got Your Back” anti-bullying program. Walters has also made visits to local youth lacrosse teams to give them the opportunity to learn from a professional player.

“He’s never said ‘no’ to any requests as far as going out and giving back to the community he grew up in,” said Hasen. “He’s Mr. Rochester.”

“He takes it upon himself and puts the Knighthawks name out there with the anti-bullying,” O’Toole said. “They’re great things to be a part of and being the only Rochester guy, he does a lot of great work out there. Joey’s committed to it and he does a great job.”

A special award was given to Knighthawks owner and General Manager Curt Styres for his outstanding dedication to the team. Knighthawks captains Sid Smith, Cody Jamieson, and Mike Kirk presented him with the Seventh Man Award. Styres is essentially the seventh man on the field for the Knighthawks, as he has been one of the keys to the team’s success over the past two seasons. The team felt that his efforts deserved recognition.

“Curt is a hands-on owner,” said Knighthawks Assistant Captain Mike Kirk. “He’s involved in every aspect of the team and his players from practice to games and shoot-around. It’s the little things that he does that help us out in a big way and make us successful.”

Styres and the Knighthawks pride themselves on the family bond who they have formed. He is an owner who is always present, which is why the team felt they should acknowledge his support. In 2011, Styres was awarded with the NLL’s Executive of the Year Award, an honor given to the owner who has had the most positive impact on his team.

“From the top down, he wants to embed that perfection and his values in us,” said Kirk. “He sets the tone as the owner who always wants to be there for everybody.”