Knighthawks back in action after 21-month layoff

Sports

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — For the first time since March 10, 2020, the Rochester Knighthawks will play a regular season lacrosse game Saturday night. They will hit the road to take on the New York Riptide.

Their 2020 season was stopped midway through due to COVID-19 and never restarted. The 2021 season never got off the ground and was cancelled entirely.

“A lot of dark days when seasons are cancelled and stuff like that,” Knighthawks defenseman Paul Dawson said. “You know me being older and a game that I love you have to dig deep and go to that gym or when gyms are shut down, get outside. At the end of the day, you have to find something to kind of hold on hope. But it was a lot of just working out and staying in shape with the hopes that one day we’re going to get back to this weekend.”

Mike Hasen, the Knighthawks head coach, said that it was difficult at times to stay connected with his team. But added that once there was clarity on when the season would begin, it became business as usual.

“We had conversations with guys just keeping tabs a little bit,” Hasen said. “A lot of it was self-motivation. We trusted the group that we had.”

In late October, the National Lacrosse League signed a multi-year deal with ESPN to broadcast their games on the network. This follows an announcement from earlier this year when the NLL and TSN reached a multi-year media rights deal for their Canadian fanbase.

“Our main fanbase is kind of people that already know about the game,” said Dawson. “They’ve been rooted in the game and grew up in the game. So now when you have ESPN and TSN you can get that random person just scrolling through. Now hopefully with commercials, highlights, and top 10 plays of the week, we’ll get that national exposure.”

The Knighthawks’ home opener is Saturday, December 11 at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester against the Buffalo Bandits.

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