Robertson Embraces New Opportunity In RochesterJan 9, 2019
By Mitchell Courtney -- Last Saturday in Buffalo, first-year Knighthawks defenseman/forward Darryl Robertson got to live out his dream of playing in the NLL. However, the 24-year-old Robertson wasn’t gifted his opportunity in the league; he earned it.
Last season Robertson spent the year on the Toronto Rock practice squad, a season in which he never got to play in his first NLL game. Fortunately, a move to Rochester and an overwhelming sense of belief from the Knighthawks coaching staff was all that Robertson needed to make his professional debut.
“Getting a new opportunity here in Rochester has been phenomenal,” he said. “I wasn’t getting the looks in Toronto that I thought I deserved.”
Transitioning to a new team in a new city can be tough for some athletes, but Robertson noted that Rochester has embraced him and made the transition seamless.
“I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity; the coaching staff here is made up of some really great guys.”
When asked what stood out about the Knighthawks staff as opposed to other staffs that he has played under, Robertson did not hesitate to mention the personal touches in the coaching philosophy of Mike Hasen and his assistant coaches.
“They truly enjoy getting to know you on a personal level,” said Robertson. “The staff here is putting me in a position to succeed.”
Although coaches can often play a significant role in a player’s individual success, veteran players on teams also factor into the equation. For Robertson, his second cousin, Scott Campbell, has assisted in his transition tremendously.
“He is a great guy to be around, he certainly knows his stuff,” said the second-year pro of Campbell.
Campbell is not only helping Robertson’s game in the NLL, but he is also one of the reasons the 24-year-old defenseman/forward picked up a lacrosse stick for the very first time.
“I was eight or nine years old, and I went to see one of his games while he was playing Junior “A” for the Whitby Warriors. I loved what I saw from his game, especially the physicality, and I had to start playing. It is certainly nice to come full circle and play with him now.”
The Whitby, Ontario, native recognizes that his hometown shaped him into the player that he is today.
“It is definitely a hot spot for lacrosse,” he said. “I could run to Iroquois (Park Sports Centre) from my house if I wanted to, it was an amazing atmosphere.”
Officially listed as a defenseman, Robertson’s offensive ability and athleticism may come as a surprise to some, but the Knighthawks coaching staff recognized his two-way potential. In his first action of the season against the Bandits last Saturday, Robertson was inserted into the Rochester lineup as a forward, scoring his first goal and impressing those in attendance.
“I hadn’t played offense since Junior ‘B’ with Clarington,” said Robertson. “You really get to see what kind of shape you are in when you play offense, but it wasn’t too much for me to handle.”
Knighthawks forward Joe Resetarits, who has played with Robertson in the past, is one of many who is glad to see Robertson in Rochester.
“He is an awesome athlete,” said Resetarits. “He is just so versatile; it is nice to have a guy who can play so well on both sides of the ball.”
In addition to gaining the respect of one of the Knighthawks best players, Robertson has impressed in the eyes of assistant coach Mike Accursi to this point.
“Darryl is a big, strong kid. He is supremely athletic,” he said. “He is one of those ‘Swiss army knives’ that can play defense and push up and play well on offense. He is always working hard, setting hard picks and we couldn’t ask for any more out of him.”
Although his debut with the Knighthawks went about as well as anybody could have expected, Robertson noted that his first action with the team was not without those first game jitters that athletes speak about routinely.
“It was exciting, but there were definitely some nerves coming out for my first game with a new group of guys,” he said. “Although I was nervous at first, as soon as the lights hit me the nerves went away.”