May 22, 2012

2012 Bread and Cheese Day.jpg(May 22, 2012)... Saturday night, the Rochester Knighthawks made history by hoisting the Champion’s Cup for the first time on their home turf. On Monday, the Knighthawks continued that tradition by introducing the Cup to its inaugural Bread and Cheese Day.

“It is a big-time lacrosse community. Everybody is pretty excited to see the Cup and to have the Cup down here on Six Nations,” said Championship Game MVP and Six Nations product Cody Jamieson, who had four goals and four assists in the Finals. “I have been a part of this parade a couple of times. I am sure everyone will be excited to see the Cup.”

The Knighthawks were in full regalia, sporting jerseys and championship hats as they filled the bed and the interior of the orange Ford F-650. The Cup was aptly displayed on roof, surrounded by team-clad players. Team captain Pat McCready drove the Knighthawks-themed truck, as the 2012 World Champions entered seven vehicles in the parade. Even Knighthawks Krew President Tim Knab made the trip to showcase the No. 11 Regy Thorpe car, which will add 2012 to the other two championship years on his bumper: 1997 and 2007.

“Knabber” was joined by 11 players, the entire coaching staff, Owner and General Manager Curt Styres, upper management, friends and family members. Styres, who is from Six Nations, was joined by local lacrosse stars and current Knighthawks Jamieson, Sid Smith, Craig Point, Johnny Powless, Alex “Kedoh” Hill and Jake Henhawk. Joel White, Walters, Jarrett Davis, McCready and Jamie Batson also huddled took the Cup on a tour of the reserve in southern Ontario.

The passion for the National Lacrosse League was evident among the thousands of people that lined Fourth Line Road, displaying Knighthawks hats, T-shirts and flags. The families of Hill and Smith raised their cardboard Big Heads to cheer as the Knighthawks truck passed the homes.

“It was pretty special winning at home for the first time ever. I was four years old the last time a championship was won in Rochester,” said Knab about the 1974 Rochester Griffins.

Defenseman Scott Campbell was enjoying every minute of the day, as he won his first title at any level. The eighth-year pro has made stops in Toronto, Minnesota and Boston. The Markham, Ontario, native is in his second season with the Knighthawks.

“This is my first time winning anything. I have no championships – no Mintos, no Manns – so this was pretty sweet,” said Campbell. “I was pretty excited.”
“This is the reason we play the games. It was a great game and I was very proud to be part of this team,” said Rochester native Joe Walters, who had 13 points in three playoff games.

For the past 115 years, a parade has ushered in Bread and Cheese Day on Six Nations. The parade, which begins at Chiefswood Park and ends at Gaylord Powless Arena, ushers in a holiday that commemorates the gifts given to the people of Six Nations by Queen Victoria. Following the parade, the team and staff moved through the Gaylord Powless Arena to collect their bread and cheese, customary on the day that was originally established in the 1800’s to celebrate the close ties between Six Nations and the British Crown. It was especially significant because this year is the 200th Anniversary of the War of 1812.

The Cup made its way through hundreds of people, appropriately in the hands of Championship Game MVP Jamieson. “Jammer” and Point used the Cup for photo opportunities and as a method to haul bread and cheese outside of the hockey arena.

“It was a great time. Five years I have been waiting for it. I finally got it and it feels great,” added Point.

It was also a chance for the coaches, staff and players to reconnect after a memorable night when they captured the team’s third NLL Championship. The 9-6 win over the Edmonton Rush at The Blue Cross Arena would have usually signified the end of the season, but Monday allowed the Knighthawks to get one more chance to enjoy the victory.

“It’s a lot of fun. Usually after the dressing room celebration everyone goes their separate ways,” said Goaltending Coach Pat O’Toole, who led Rochester to the 2007 title. “To get everyone back a couple of days later, when you can sit here and enjoy it, is a lot of fun.”

The team also gathered for a home-cooked breakfast at Styres' home, which is where the day began and ended for most. In the afternoon, players and their families were treated to barbeque steak, chicken, sausage, hot dogs, along with fruit, salad and finger foods. The sprawling yard allowed players to play corn-hole, try their luck at ladder golf and hit the pool.

“Curt spoke about the family feeling that was in the room all year, and people say all the time about the closeness in the locker room and the difference it makes," said McCready, who shared the day with his wife and two daughters. "We cared about each other all year and the result showed. What Curt is building in Rochester is a lacrosse team who cares for each other that is going to have much success in the future. 

"Curt is an owner who cares about the team and the community. Without the family support we receive as players we would not be able to play (as well). It was nice to share the experience throughout the year with the people who made it possible.”

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