2007 TEAM RETURNS TO RELIVE CHAMPIONSHIP RUNMar 28, 2017
By James Coyne -- Consistent was one way that the Rochester Knighthawks could be described prior to 2007. The team had made the National Lacrosse League playoffs 12 years in a row, and five times advanced to the NLL Finals. Entering the 2007 season, however, it had been 10 years since the Knighthawks won their only title and they wanted to add another banner to the rafters.
The roster was again filled with talented players, but there was something different about that team. The 2007 Rochester Knighthawks weren’t just good; they were special.
“It was just a really good group of guys. They really cared for each other from the management to the coaching staff,” 2007 team captain Regy Thorpe said. “They put it on the line for each other every night.”
“It’s the closest team I’ve ever been part of,” added 2007 assistant coach John Munroe. “Every time you went in you expected to win.”
With a mixture of players coming from different countries and backgrounds, the Knighthawks were able to go on a historic run by winning their last 15 games. It was a group that used the slogan “No Borders” to signify their unity.
“It was just a great group of guys from many different places,” Bill Greer said. “We just believed in each other. Every game we went in to, we had a feeling we could win it.”
“It was back in the old days of the American guys and Canadian guys trying to come together,” Stephen Hoar added. “We had a lot of different dynamics on that team, and we finally found a way to put it all together.”
Saturday night offered the opportunity to honor the 2007 NLL Champion Knighthawks on the 10th anniversary of their accomplishment. Several players from the championship team were on hand, as well as the coaching and lacrosse staff. Leading the player list were two of Rochester’s top four scorers from the 2007 season in Shawn Williams (91 points) and Mike Accursi (77 points). Other players joining the celebration were Pat Cougevan, Scott Ditzell, Pat Dutton, Mike Hasen, Pat O’Toole, Joe Smith, Steve Toll, Shawn Wilkins, Greer, Hoar and Thorpe. Also in attendance was the entire coaching staff from that season with head coach Ed Comeau joined by former assistants Sean Ferris, John Munroe and Tom Cincebox.
A pregame reception was held for players, coaches and their families, offering an opportunity for old teammates and friends to catch up. Some, like Ferris, who is currently an assistant coach for the Georgia Swarm, are around more often than others.
“I come back here every year anyways, but it’s great to come back. It’s a great building and a great atmosphere,” Ferris said. “There are some guys we haven’t seen in 10 years since we won.”
“It was just great to see everyone after this long,” Munroe added.
A strong bond and fond memories are still shared among the guys on the 2007 roster, even after a decade has passed. Handshakes, hugs, family introductions and laugher highlighted the reception.
“It was a special night, special moment back in 2007. To come back 10 years later and see all the guys, it’s really special,” Thorpe said.
“It’s awesome. A lot of these guys I haven’t seen in years,” Comeau said. “It’s great to get together. We had a lot of great memories.”
— Eddie Comeau (@Coach_Eddie25) March 26, 2017
The 2007 Knighthawks got off to a slow start, but they turned that 2-2 season into a 12-game winning streak en route to a playoff berth.
“We were out in Minnesota and dropped a tight game there,” Regy said. “It just seemed like it clicked from there.”
After taking down the Toronto Rock and besting the Bandits in an overtime thriller, the Knighthawks earned the right to host the championship game against the Arizona Sting. Unfortunately, due to a building conflict the Knighthawks were forced to travel west to Arizona instead.
“We found out two weeks before that the circus was coming to town,” Ferris shared. “We were disappointed that the fans didn’t get to see that.”
Despite being forced to travel away from home, the 2007 Knighthawks were determined and would not be denied. It’s something that they all look back on with pride.
“It was disappointing not to be able to do it in front of the home crowd, but it gave us a lot of motivation,” said Comeau.
“It wasn’t great, but it was fun to go down to the desert for a couple days,” Hoar said with a smile. “You take it as it comes and you make the best of the situation. Fortunately, we were able to put a game together and come out on top.”
While the 2007 team wasn’t able to take the Champion’s Cup in front of a home crowd, everyone was certain of one thing: Rochester has the best fans.
“These fans are great,” said Munroe. “We would have filled this place.”