Nov 17, 2017

31438594745_2906be39ac_o.jpg(November 17, 2017)… The Rochester Knighthawks will open their National Lacrosse League preseason schedule with a pair of games this weekend at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena (ILA) in Six Nations.

Rochester will open its preseason slate on Saturday, Nov. 18 against the New England Black Wolves at 1:00 p.m. The following day, the Knighthawks will battle the rival Buffalo Bandits at 11:00 a.m. Both games are closed to the public.

The preseason games are against two familiar East Division foes. During the upcoming season, Rochester will play Buffalo four times, and battle New England on three different occasions. Last year, Rochester split the four-game series against the Black Wolves, while taking two of three games from the Bandits. 

The contest against the Bandits will only stoke the fire that already exits between two of the oldest rivals in the NLL. Ian Llord knows the rivalry well, having played for both organizations.

“Guys battling for spots on both rosters, and the rich history between these two clubs, will make for an intense game,” said the veteran defenseman.

The preseason games will give the coaches two additional opportunities to evaluate talent – from rookies to veterans. The contests will feature all nine free agents and the five remaining members of the 2017 draft class: Jake Withers, Austin Shanks, Eric Fannell, Adam Perroni and Trevor Stacey. 

With two practices and two games crammed into two days, this is the biggest weekend of training camp.

“I believe the games will solidify what we are thinking and show us if the guys are able to do it (at this level),” said Knighthawks head coach Mike Hasen. “It’s one thing to practice in a practice situation, where we can stop and start. In games we don’t have that luxury. (This weekend) we’ll see where everyone is at against different competition.”

“The couple of practices we have had, everybody has looked really good,” added Hasen. “We will have to make some tough choices.”

The Knighthawks have already trimmed down their training roster by releasing Tommy McKee, Kessler Doolittle and Ethan Garland. The Knighthawks also activated forwards Josh Currier and Cory Vitarelli from the injured reserve list. 

Currier, who missed the final six games of the season with a lower-body injury, will make his return to the lineup this week. During his rookie season, the Peterborough, Ontario native finished fifth on the team with 35 points (18+17) en route to NLL All-Rookie Team honors.

“I've had to work really hard to get healthy, and I'm really excited to get the Knighthawks jersey back on again,” said Currier.

The Knighthawks will open the 2017-18 season with a 7:30 p.m. showdown against the Calgary Roughnecks on Saturday, Dec. 9 at Connors & Ferris Field at The Blue Cross Arena. Individual tickets for the 2017-18 season will go on sale on Tuesday, Nov. 21 at 11:00 a.m. Tickets can be purchased online at, by calling 1-800-745-3000, and at The Blue Cross Arena Box Office.

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