KNIGHTHAWKS SIGN PAIR OF FIRST-ROUND PICKSOct 7, 2016
(October 7, 2016)… It didn’t take long for the Rochester Knighthawks to get both of their first-round picks under contract, following the 2016 National Lacrosse League Entry Draft. Just eight days after being selected by the Knighthawks, Josh Currier and Kyle Jackson both agreed to two-year deals.
“We needed to get more speed and youth out the front door and both have that type of game to play without the ball. They will make others better around them,” said Knighthawks assistant coach Paul Day, who runs the offense. “This is a great opportunity for them and the Knighthawks.”
Rochester loaded up on offense in this year’s draft and started by taking Currier with the sixth overall selection. He arrives in Rochester after spending his summers playing in Peterborough, Ontario. The 23-year-old forward has moved up through the ranks from the junior to senior levels.
At the Junior “A” level, Currier was a three-time 30-goal scorer for the hometown Peterborough Lakers. In four seasons, he posted 124 goals and 102 assists for 226 points in 71 games. This week, Currier reflected on another professional milestone – signing his first National Lacrosse League contract.
“I am just really pumped to be signed with Rochester for at least the next two seasons,” he said. “It’s such a legendary program that I am really happy to be a part of now.” By coming over to the Knighthawks in the draft, he is reunited with coaches Mike Hasen and Paul Day. After being promoted to the senior Lakers, Currier has thrived under the direction of Hasen and Day with the Senior “A” Lakers the past two summers.
“I know they expect a lot from you and they are really good coaches,” said Currier. “I know some guys are going to be tough on me, but I think it’s going to be good for me as well. I am happy that I am going to play for them again because I enjoyed playing for them this summer.”
The Peterborough, Ontario native played collegiately at Virginia Wesleyan College, where he was the school’s first four-time All-American. In 2016, Currier capped off his amazing college career by making school history, as he led Division III lacrosse in points per game (7.06) and goals per game (5.18).
He graduated as the Old Dominion Athletic Conference’s (ODAC) all-time leader in career points with 353. He graduated as a three-time ODAC Player of the Year (2013, 2014 and 2016), and as a four-time First Team All-ODAC choice. Currier said his four-year career at Virginia Wesleyan College has prepared him for the rigors of professional lacrosse.
“I think going there for four years is going to help me a lot,” he said. “When I first went there, I probably was one of the least in-shape people on the team. When I was leaving, I was probably one of the most in-shape. Working out and playing every day really helps you not only get in shape, but helps your lacrosse game as well. I am going to be able to come to training camp already in pretty good shape.”
The 23-year-old Jackson joins the Knighthawks after being taken seventh overall in the first round. On draft night, he tried to remain calm as the teams started selecting players. With the sixth pick, Rochester chose Josh Currier and then it was Jackson’s turn.
“I just took it all in and didn’t have any expectations,” he said. “I went in with an open mindset and knew whatever happened was going to be the right choice. It was going to be a team that had studied me throughout the years and knew I was going to be a perfect fit for their organization. I was just lucky enough that Rochester came calling.”
Jackson, who was a four-year starter at Michigan, left as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 88 goals and as the all-time point producer with 113 points. While playing at Michigan, he was a two-time team Offensive MVP (2015-16), an All-ECAC First Team selection (2014), and the team’s Most Valuable Player (2016).
This week, he took another step to becoming a pro player by signing his first NLL contract with the Knighthawks.
“It’s a dream come true. I dreamt of this day ever since I started playing lacrosse,” he said. “To be part of the Knighthawks’ organization is a great scenario and a great place to start my career.”
When the Knighthawks tabbed the University of Michigan standout with the seventh pick, he made school history as the first Wolverine ever selected in the NLL Entry Draft.
“I am extremely proud,” he said. “It’s a huge honor. I love representing Michigan in the best way possible. To have them see that someone from the University of Michigan lacrosse program can go out and get drafted in the NLL is something I take a whole lot of pride in.”
The Sarnia, Ontario native, who played five seasons of Junior “A” ball with the Kitchener-Waterloo Braves, now gets an opportunity to return to the indoor game by playing for the Knighthawks. Although getting picked in the first round, Jackson knows he still has work to do.
“My mentality has always been that you don't make a team based on where you go in the draft – whether it’s hockey or professional lacrosse,” he said. “I knew that if I went in the first round or the last round, I was going to stand a chance of cracking an NLL roster. I knew it was a first step in a longer process. Training camp is coming and I am super excited to show everyone what they have been missing the last couple of years.”