(May 16, 2017)… The Rochester Knighthawks handed out their second and third awards of the offseason today, as Kyle Jackson was named the team’s Rookie of the Year and Offensive MVP. The Sarnia, Ontario native was the Knighthawks’ only multiple award winner this season.
“Personal accolades are incredible feats in my first season, but that wasn’t the goal at the beginning of the season,” he said. “As much as it was awesome and means a lot, having a winning season and a winning record with the Knighthawks, and making it to the playoffs and winning a Champion’s Cup would have meant a lot more to me. At the end of the day, however, it’s an awesome accomplishment that I am definitely proud of.”
The 23-year-old forward made his Knighthawks debut on Dec. 29 after being drafted by Rochester with the seventh overall pick. In doing so, Jackson became the first player in University of Michigan history to be selected in the National Lacrosse League Entry Draft. Jackson, who was a four-year starter, was Michigan’s all-time leader in goals (88) and points (113).
During the 2017 campaign, the first-year pro finished second on the team with 60 points. His 26 goals were second on the team, while his 34 assists were third. He notched points in 15 of his 16 games. In just his second game as a pro, he tied a team rookie record with 11 points (2+9) in a Jan. 7 win over New England.
“KJ had a fantastic year,” said Knighthawks assistant coach Paul Day. “He was put into the No. 1 role and accepted it and excelled. He made everyone around him better.”
Jackson was a member of a Rochester draft class that included Josh Currier, Dan Lomas and Luke Laszkiewicz. He and Lomas both placed in the Top 5 in the NLL in points among rookies. Jackson was second in goals, assists and points, and led all rookies with nine power-play goals.
“He has the makings of a franchise player,” said Knighthawks forward Dan Dawson. “His growth in one year was outstanding. I know he is only going to improve because he has a strong work ethic, a high lacrosse IQ and great stick skills.”
In being voted the team’s Offensive MVP, he became the first rookie in team history to win the prestigious award. Past winners include Cody Jamieson and Stephen Keogh. Being honored twice by his teammates was a great way for Jackson to cap off his first season in the NLL.
“It was an unbelievable year with a lot of new experiences,” said Jackson. “I couldn’t have asked for a better group of individuals to be a part of throughout the process. Being on the Knighthawks is something I will cherish forever; I hope to have a long-lasting career in a Rochester uniform.”