Oct 13, 2016

Luke and Tyler.jpg(October 13, 2016)… The Rochester Knighthawks announced today that the team has signed Tyler Albrecht (all-BRECK) and Luke Laszkiewicz (lass-ka-WITTS) to one-year deals. With the deals in place, the Knighthawks have now signed all six players they selected in the 2016 National Lacrosse League Entry Draft.

“It’s a pretty exciting feeling, especially with everything being so unsuspected,” said Albrecht. “I didn’t really know what was going to happen with the draft. Being able to get picked up by such an unbelievable, historic organization is something I have dreamt of since I started playing lacrosse. It’s an extremely exciting opportunity and I can’t wait to get out there.”

Albrecht arrives in Rochester after being chosen with the 34th overall pick. The versatile transition man gives the Knighthawks a player who can play lock-down defense, while also providing speed and scoring touch at the other end of the floor. He demonstrated his abilities with Junior “A” Burlington, where he appeared in 50 games and put up 58 goals and 57 assists from 2011-14.

“His size and athleticism is a good combination,” said Knighthawks head coach Mike Hasen about the 6-1, 185-pound Albrecht. “He has the ability to go out the back door and play a little bit of offense for us, as well. His role can be expanded to what we need.”

Hasen and the Knighthawks staff were thrilled when he was still on the board when they selected in the fourth round. “He is a guy that we targeted to go a lot earlier and we were quite happy and surprised that he was still there when we made that pick,” he said.

At the collegiate level, Albrecht was a four-year standout with the Loyola University Greyhounds. In 2015, the midfielder scored a career-high 23 goals and tied his career best with five assists, while causing six turnovers. He finished third on the team in goals and fifth in ground balls. During his career, he picked up 91 ground balls, including 35 as a junior in 2015 and 24 during 2016 as a senior. One year prior to going to Loyola, Albrecht won a silver medal with Team Canada at the 2012 U19 FIL World Lacrosse Championship.

The 23-year-old will now attempt to make the jump to the pros with the Knighthawks. Ever since the NLL Draft on Sept. 26, Albrecht has been focused on training camp. After coming home from college, he joined a gym to work on his agility and explosiveness. It was at Loyola that he developed the drive and knowledge he needed to prepare for such an opportunity.

“Being at college really prepared me for that. During the four years, you are running, lifting, practicing and shooting around every single day,” said Albrecht. “You go in there when you are 19 or 20 years old and it molds you as a person. It taught me about the preparation and hard work you have to put into it on your own (in order to succeed).”

After picking Albrecht, the Knighthawks used their 43rd pick to take Luke Laszkiewicz. The Oshawa, Ontario native played parts of three seasons of Junior “A” ball with the Whitby Warriors (2010-11, 2013) and won the 2011 Minto Cup. It was during the championship run that Laszkiewicz matured as a player. It was a roster that featured over a dozen future NLL players, including Mark Matthews, Curtis Knight, Dan Lintner, Shayne Jackson and future Knighthawk Graeme Hossack.

“It was a great team with a lot of great players. I am pretty sure everyone on that team is playing in the NLL and playing a large part for whatever team drafted them,” said Laszkiewicz. “I learned a lot about winning. The coaching staff always pushed us because skill can only take you so far. Strength and the will to win played a big part in our success that year.”

After his junior career, he went on to enjoy a successful four years at Robert Morris University, where he graduated as one of the most prolific scorers in school history. Laszkiewicz set the individual career record at RMU in games started (56) and secured second place on the all-time points list (167). He also ranks second in school history in goals (125), eighth in assists (42) and third in man-up goals (18). In 2016, he posted his second consecutive 30-goal season and was named to the Northeast Conference All-Tournament Team. He concluded his senior season ranked second in the nation in goals per game (3.53) and fifth in points per game (4.60).

His success over the past several years helped him get noticed by the Knighthawks, who picked him in the fifth round of the draft. Rochester assistant coach Paul Day sees a lot of promise in Laszkiewicz’s game, and offered some insight on how the rookie can stand out in training camp.

“He is a great shooter and has great feet,” said Day. “He will need to make others better around him and play without the ball.”

The 24-year-old Laszkiewicz said it was a dream come true to sign his first contract. Yet nothing compares to draft night. Just weeks removed from the experience, he tried to put into words the emotions he felt the moment he became a Knighthawk.

“I was just excited. When the Knighthawks were on the clock, I thought this would be a perfect fit,” he said. “It’s close to home and a great team. I was just ecstatic when I heard my name called.”

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