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Knighthawks trade into first round twice

By: Chamberlain Bauder & Brayden Peters

OAKVILLE, ON --- The 2023 NLL Entry Draft had the chance to be a calm day for Rochester Knighthawks fans. That morning, reigning General Manager of the year Dan Carey only had three selections at 30, 47, and 52. However calm was not the theme of the Knighthawks draft, they made three trades, two in the first round, and walked away with the rights to five prospects.

The First deal of the night was with an unlikely partner. The Knighthawks and Bandits made a trade for pick 15. Rochester sent their 2024 first rounder to Buffalo and drafted Albany alumni and Whitby Warrior Graydon Hogg. The 5'9 lefty will be able sign with the team before the 2023-24 season. In 43 games for the Great Danes, Hogg notched 114 points (85/29). He was a three time, second team all-conference selection and earned SUNY men's lacrosse scholar athlete of the year in 2023. Hogg's shot led him through college but his ability to create for others shows in his box game. With Whitby last season he amassed 17 goals and 21 assists in 15 games. Knighthawks head coach Mike Hasen is often involved in the draft process and he already has his eyes on how Hogg can add to Rochester.

"Graydon's gonna be a guy who I'd alike to Turner (Evans)." Hasen said. "He's a guy that's gonna bang around and he doesn't need the ball in his stick."

Hogg with NLL Commissioner Brett Frood (Photo/NLL)

The Knighthawks next pick was right after at 16. It was an even bigger trade with the Calgary Roughnecks. Rochester sent Thomas Hoggarth and Thomas Vela to Calgary for Kyle Waters and the 16th and 35th picks in the draft. Carey drafted Hogg's Whitby teammate 6'2 lefty defenseman Ben MacDonnell.

"With Ben there, we need big lefty D guys so he fits that bill..." Hasen said. "He's a guy that's gonna add some depth and push the guys in our lineup."

MacDonnell meeting Rochester's coaching staff (Photo/NLL)

The Knighthawks sat back for a bit after their back-to-back picks. during that time they enjoyed moments for multiple Upstate Collegiate Box Lacrosse League alumni as Kaleb Benedict and Luke Pincher were drafted at 19 and 24. Also selected during that time was Connor O'Toole, the son of Knighthawks coach Pat O'Toole, the Hall of Fame net minder. O'Toole entered the draft after a standout year backstopping the Brampton Excelsiors. He was selected by Vancouver at pick 18.

Connor and Pat O'Toole (Photo/Chamberlain Bauder)

The Knighthawks got back into action with pick 30, mid way through the second round. They selected another big Whitby defenseman in Jake Doolittle, continuing to beef up the lefty defense position. The next pick at 35 was one The Knighthawks had their eyes on all summer.

When it comes to college long stick midfielders, few had a better 2023 than Jake Piseno. The Albany Great Dane set a program record with 50 caused turnovers (CT) his graduate year. He ranked second nationally in CTs per game. He was named the 2023 American East Defensive Player of the Year. After his collegiate season came to an end he played for the Haudenosaunee national team at the world games. He was named the defender of the tournament with the best defensive performance ever for his nation.

His introduction to the Box game only came this summer, playing in the UCBLL for the Hawkeyes under current Knighthawks Dan Coates and Ryland Rees. He started immediately for the defensive group after worlds and helped lead the team to the National Collegiate Box Championship game. Carey

Piseno for the Hawkeyes (Photo/UCBLL)

"I think there's a lot of upside for a player who doesn't have a lot of box lacrosse experience, he showed at the world championship that he is an elite player and can play with elite talent," Carey said. "He played in the collegiate league, in the quick time he was there he showed a lot of upside... We felt like he was gonna go a bit sooner than that so we were lucky to get him when we did."

The Knighthawks last selection was another dominant force in the field game. Jack Boyden led Tufts to the National championship game last season in division three, his 157 points led the team by 48. He has already started to prove himself this summer with Brooklin in the MSL, he notched 19 points in 10 games.

Rochester Knighthawks draft table (Photo/Chamberlain Bauder)

Carey traded away Rochester's last pick, 52, for a 2026 third rounder from Panther City. The Knighthawks called it a day early and headed home with two more players than they had picks going in.

"There's a lot of excitement with the possibility to move up," Carey said. "We had to give up some good players to get some good players but feel really good about the players we were able to acquire and they're gonna be a great fit for our organization."

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