Mar 6, 2019

_i7i5122.jpg(March 6, 2019)… The Rochester Knighthawks announced today that they have acquired forward Ryan Benesch from the Colorado Mammoth in exchange for forward Cory Vitarelli.

“It feels good to be coming back east,” said Benesch, who lives and works in Kitchener, Ontario. “I know a lot of guys on the Rochester team, which is nice. I want to walk in and be welcomed with open arms and help this team win some games.”

The 34-year-old forward is one of the most prolific scorers in the history of the game. In 13 seasons, he ranks 10th all-time in assists (562) and points (977) and 11th in goals (415). The former first overall pick is a two-time First Team All-Pro (2011 and 2015). In 2007, he earned NLL Rookie of the Year honors. One thing that has defined his career has been his ability to score goals at crucial moments. In his 198 career games, he has netted 17 game-winners.

“Ryan is one of the top scorers in the history of the National Lacrosse League,” said Knighthawks Owner and General Manager Curt Styres. “He brings veteran leadership to the team and the ability to score clutch goals.”

This season, the 5-foot-9, 180-pound forward led the Colorado Mammoth in assists (30) and points (47). During the 2017-18 campaign, Benesch led the Mammoth in goals (36), assists (57) and points (93), and was fifth in the NLL in points. In his career, he has also played for the Toronto Rock, Minnesota Swarm, Edmonton Rush and Buffalo Bandits.

His best offensive season was as a Bandit in 2015. That season, he was first in the NLL with a career-high of 55 goals. He also led Buffalo with a career-high 113 points, which was the third-most points in the league. His 58 assists were a career best, as well. Later that summer, he won a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2015 FIL World Indoor Lacrosse Championship.

In exchange for Benesch, Rochester sent Vitarelli to Colorado. The 33-year-old forward has 15 goals and 11 assists in nine games this season. In parts of nine seasons (2011-19), the Peterborough, Ontario, native posted 184 goals and 129 assists in 116 games with the Knighthawks. He ranks fourth all-time in team history in goals. Vitarelli was also a member of the Knighthawks’ championship teams in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

“Thank you to Cory for his nine seasons as a Rochester Knighthawk,” said Styres. “He helped us get to the division semifinals (2011) and division finals (2015), and reach four NLL Finals and win a league-record three straight championships.”

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