KNIGHTHAWKS SIGN NICK DAMUDE TO PRACTICE CONTRACTFeb 6, 2019
(February 6, 2019)… The Rochester Knighthawks announced today that they have signed Nick Damude (DAY-mewd) to a practice contract. The Pelham, Ontario, native returns to the team that selected him in the 2018 National Lacrosse League Entry Draft.
“It feels pretty good (to be back),” he said. “It was nice to get the call.”
The Knighthawks brought Damude back to the team after an impressive stint with the Peterborough Timbermen of the Arena Lacrosse League (ALL). In four games this season, the 20-year-old had a 2-0 record and a 10.80 goals-against average, which was second best in the league.
“It was good getting experience in the big nets and with the small sticks. Getting experience is always good,” he said. “It’s a pretty good team there. I had a good defense in front of me; that made it pretty easy.”
Damude will now return to the NLL, where he saw time during the preseason with the Knighthawks. His play against professional-caliber players in the Arena Lacrosse League was what convinced Rochester to give him another shot this season.
“Nick is a young and capable goalie with a bright future,” said Knighthawks President of Lacrosse Operations Jake Henhawk. “He had a very strong camp for us and continually improved with each session. He took that experience and parlayed it into a good start with Peterborough in the ALL. We look forward to having him develop his craft with our organization and are lucky to have him back.”
“Nick has earned another opportunity to show us what he can do,” said Knighthawks Owner and General Manager Curt Styres. “He has a lot of potential. He was always a great goalie all the way up from minors to juniors.”
The Knighthawks took Damude in the fourth round after acquiring the 40th overall pick from Philadelphia for their fourth-round pick in the 2019 NLL Entry Draft. The rookie saw his first NLL action in the preseason opener on Dec. 8 against the Philadelphia Wings. After giving up an early goal, he shut out Philadelphia over the final 14 minutes to earn the win in a 10-6 decision.
Attending camp taught Damude some lessons that will help him this time around.
“I have a little bit more background on some of the shooters now after having them shoot on me in training camp,” he said. “I think I am just a bit more mentally prepared this time. I also know who likes to shoot the ball and where they like to shoot it.”
Damude made the jump to the pros after a season in which he posted an 11-6 record and a 7.12 goals-against average with the Junior “A” St. Catharines Athletics. His .816 save percentage was second best in the Ontario junior loop, while his 533 saves were tied for third. He also logged 1,011 minutes in 17 games for the Athletics.
During the playoffs, he led St. Catharines to a berth in the Ontario Semifinals as he maintained the best goals-against average (5.65) and save percentage (.865) in the league. After recording the finest season of his career, he now owns a 19-21-1 record, a 7.93 goals-against average and a .783 save percentage at the Junior “A” level, all with the Athletics.
“He’s a good, young goalie who will develop for the future,” said Knighthawks assistant coach Mike Accursi after the Knighthawks drafted the high-profile goalie. “He was a good fit for us. He was the best goalie in the league at the junior level this year. He’s got a lot of upside to him and a lot of potential. We are looking for the next generation of goaltender, and he has shown signs that he can be that goalie.”