LIFETIME OF DEDICATION LEADS TO IRONMAN RECORDApr 29, 2016
By Andrea Chevalier -- Rochester Knighthawks forward Dan Dawson has always been known for his dedication and love for the game of lacrosse. Having played in the National Lacrosse League for 15 years now, it is expected that the star forward would make a name for himself and hit many of league milestones. Most recently, the 34-year-old forward took over as the NLL’s Ironman.
When the Rochester Knighthawks took on the division rival Buffalo Bandits on April 23rd, Dawson played in his 231st consecutive game to become the league’s Ironman. He surpassed former Knighthawk Shawn Williams, who sent a video message to Dawson.
“Congratulations and sorry I couldn’t be there, Buddy,” said Williams. “I had the pleasure playing with you a couple of times on championship teams. You are the ultimate leader, ultimate competitor, clutch performer, great guy, character guy. But, most importantly you’re one of ‘Tuck Dog’s’ best guys both on the floor and off the floor.”
Dawson was grateful for the congratulatory words and was humble after receiving recognition for his accomplishment.
“I’m just blessed to be put in a situation to become so successful and to be surrounded by so many great players and caches who believe in my abilities,” Dawson said. “That’s all it is. It’s a team game. It’s not all individual accolades. It’s a testament to the people you surround yourself with and the coaching staff that puts you in positions to be so successful. I’m just very thankful. I’ve played on numerous teams throughout this NLL career and I’m very blessed and very honored to be in the company of these guys.”
Dawson began his career in Columbus back in 2002. From there, the 6-foot-5 forward made stops in Arizona (2004-07), Portland (2008), Boston (2009-11) and Philadelphia (2012) before finally finding his home in Rochester in December of 2012. While playing in Boston, Dawson was named the 2009 NLL MVP, but it was with the Knighthawks where he won the ultimate prize – his first ever Champion’s Cup.
“Dan’s been the focal point on most teams that he’s played for and he takes the beating that he gets every night and to goes out there the next night and keeps playing,” said Knighthawks assistant coach Pat O’Toole. “I’ve seen him with a few injuries and he just plays through them and you’d never know he had them. He just plays so hard and his focus and dedication to his team is unbelievable.”
Not only did “Dangerous Dan Dawson” step foot on the floor at Connors & Ferris Field at The Blue Cross Arena, he also put up a team-high eight-point performance (3+5). With playoff implications on the line, Dawson came out ready to put up his best effort against the Bandits and scored the Knighthawks’ first goal of the game. In doing so, he reached another personal milestone, becoming just the fifth player in NLL history to reach the 1,200-point plateau.
Both Dawson’s coaches and teammates know that they can count on him each and every night to always put his best foot forward and do whatever it takes to get his team a victory. He is known for his positive attitude and work ethic both on the field and in the locker room, which makes the Knighthawks organization and the entire league lucky to have such a character guy associated with them.
“First and foremost, congratulations,” said Knighthawks head coach Mike Hasen. “It’s really tough to do. A lot of it goes to Dan’s character and resiliency. I’m sure there’s some times where he could have taken the night off because he was a little banged up and he just constantly pushes through it. He makes everyone around him better which is great.”
“When I sit back and really reflect on my career, maybe it’ll mean a little more to me but right now we’re fighting for our playoff lives,” Dawson said. “I’m honestly not really thinking about it right now. I’m just going to (keep) trying to contribute every time I step out on the floor.”