Knighthawks Honor All-Time Team and Special Guest Before Cruising to VictoryDec 29, 2018
By Mitchell Courtney
The Rochester Knighthawks kicked off their long-awaited season opener tonight against the expansion Philadelphia Wings. Prior to the start of the game, as part of the Knighthawks 25th season celebration; Rochester honored its All-Time Team in a nostalgic ceremony.
Taking part in the ceremony were forwards John Grant Jr., Tim Soudan, Shawn Williams, Paul Gait, Mike Accursi and Cody Jamieson; defensemen Regy Thorpe, Chris Schiller, Sid Smith, Scott Campbell, Paul Dawson, Graeme Hossack, Marshall Abrams, Mike Hasen and goaltender Pat O’Toole.
Each member of the Knighthawks All-Time Team was presented with a commemorative plaque by Knighthawks Owner Curt Styres.
As a member of the All-Time Team, head coach Mike Hasen reflected on being honored as one of the best to ever don the purple and teal in Rochester.
“It is such a great honor,” he said. “It is a privilege to wear that jersey and to be recognized with all of the guys that have worn it through the years.”
The opening night win held a bit more importance as Hasen admitted that he wanted to ensure a victory on such a momentous occasion.
“Our focus was to get out to a great start, and that’s what we did,” said Hasen.
As coach Hasen desired, the Knighthawks stormed out of the gates, surging to a five to nothing lead before the end of the first quarter and never turning back. Although Philadelphia tallied nine goals, the score was certainly less indicative of the 13-9 score than one might think.
The team also honored cancer survivor and honorary team captain Jacob Quinn with a ceremonial faceoff along with his two brothers and his parents. Jacob was ecstatic to have the opportunity to be around the team and to participate on the field with all his favorite Knighthawks.
“It was really fun to practice with all of the guys,” said Jacob. “They’re great, I was fired up.”
Amidst all the fanfare, several players on the Knighthawks roster were chasing and subsequently reaching personal milestones on their way to a team victory. Early in the first quarter, forward Cory Vitarelli scored his 170th goal with Rochester; giving him sole possession of fourth place on the Knighthawks all-time goal-scoring list.
“It is a nice accomplishment,” said Vitarelli. “It is definitely a product of the teams that I have played on and the players that have played with me over the years.”
Vitarelli noted that milestones like the one he accomplished in this year’s season opener are positives, but that they aren’t always the central focus on a player’s mind.
“It is one of those things that you probably won’t pay too much attention to until you look back on your career.”
Fresh off a 100-point season last year and signing a one-year extension with the Knighthawks, forward Joe Resetarits suited up for his 100th NLL game, tallying one goal and one assist. Knighthawks head coach Mike Hasen noted that Resetarits is and will be considered a force to be reckoned with on the turf.
“Joe had a dynamite year last season,” said Hasen of Resetarits. “To follow up a 100-point season is certainly going to be tough, but I know that he is up for the task every year.”
Next, the Knighthawks head down the I-90 to face Buffalo on Jan. 5th in what should be an electric atmosphere as the two interstate rivals battle at KeyBank Center.