KNIGHTHAWKS HAND OUT TEAM AWARDSApr 27, 2019
(April 29, 2019)… Prior to Saturday’s game, the Rochester Knighthawks held their annual Team Awards Ceremony. Graeme Hossack headlined the field of winners, as he was voted the Ricoh Team MVP and the team’s Defensive MVP. Hossack was the only multiple award winner this year, as he was rewarded for his stellar defense and leadership.
“His demeanor and the way he plays is a level that no one of the team could match, and he brought that every night,” said Knighthawks head coach Mike Hasen. “He has been a presence all over the floor. He’s been great defensively and pushing the ball in transition. Overall, he had a great year.”
Hossack, who finished second in MVP voting last season, was presented with his first MVP award. This season, the Port Perry, Ontario, native leads the Knighthawks with 25 caused turnovers and is second with 148 loose balls. The fourth-year pro is also among the top point producing defensemen in the league. For the third straight season, Hossack captured the IDE Family of Dealerships Defensive MVP award.
The Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino Offensive MVP went to Cody Jamieson for the third time in his career. “Jammer” leads Rochester in goals (29), assists (54) and points (83). Now in his ninth season, the team captain posted his 700th career point last game. In team history, Jamieson ranks third in goals (254), assists (446) and points (700).
“You have to look at more than numbers when you are looking at an Offensive MVP,” said Knighthawks assistant coach Mike Accursi. “Yes, Cody puts his number up, but it’s what he brings to our offensive unit. It’s his leadership, his dedication and drive to win and compete. That’s something you can’t put a number on. He is a huge asset to me and the offensive group.”
The UR Medicine Wolf Pack Award went to a first-time recipient, as defenseman Jake Withers took home the honor. Withers embodies the spirit of the award, which recognizes heart and dedication to the team. In his second season in the NLL, the Peterborough, Ontario, native leads the league with a .748 faceoff winning percentage. It was his return to the lineup midway through the season that sparked the team’s season-high four-game winning streak.
“It is a great honor to be selected for this year’s Wolf Pack Award,” said Withers. “I love my teammates and do my best to play with as much heart and hustle as I can game in and game out to make them proud.
“I have to thank Curt [Styres], the coaches, my teammates and of course the fans, for continuously believing in our team this year and helping motivate us every time we stepped on the turf. Last but not least, thank you, Rochester. It’s been nothing but an unbelievable first two years in the league being able to live, interact and play for the Rochester community. ‘RochVegas’ will always have a special place in my heart. Go Hawks!”
The Rookie of the Year, which was brought to you by ISAAC Heating & Air Conditioning, was handed to defenseman James Barclay. The ninth overall pick in the draft has been a steady presence on the defensive side of the ball. This season, the Toronto native has notched eight points and 57 loose balls in 15 games.
“He has been a competitor all year for us,” said Knighthawks assistant coach Pat O’Toole. “Being a rookie and playing that many games, he has done a fantastic job. He has gotten better every game. He has worked really hard and is a quick learner.”
Defenseman/transition man Brad Gillies received the Connors & Ferris Community Service Award. The fourth-year pro won the award for the third straight season after expanding the organization’s community programs and Knighthawks Academy. During the 2018-19 season, under Gillies’ leadership, the Knighthawks hosted two box lacrosse tournaments and held their first-ever youth box lacrosse league. He also continued to serve as the spokesperson for the team’s Healthy Hawks, Anti-Bullying and Lacrosse 101 initiatives.
One of the final presentations was for the Seventh Man Award, presented by The Distillery. The honor is awarded to the member of the staff that has gone above and beyond the call of duty. The 2018-19 winner was Craig Rybczynski, who is the team’s longtime broadcaster and director of communications. This season, “Ripper” coordinated the Second Annual Cradle for the Cure Night, which raised a record $16,000 for CURE Childhood Cancer Association. He also spearheaded the John Grant Jr. Jersey Retirement Night, the 1995 Team Reunion and the All-Time Celebration.
The Knighthawks also recognized off-field official Steve Abbamonte for his 25 years of service to the organization. Abbamonte is the only full-time or part-time employee that has been with the team since its inception in 1995. He has worked over 200 home games during his career.
Winners Award - Recipient
MVP - Graeme Hossack
Offensive MVP - Cody Jamieson
Defensive MVP - Graeme Hossack
Rookie of the Year - James Barclay
Wolf Pack Award (heart and dedication) - Jake Withers
Community Service - Brad Gillies
Seventh Man (commitment and hard work) - Craig Rybczynski
25 Years of Service Award - Steve Abbamonte