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09/27/2012 - 12:36pm

(September 27, 2012)… The 2012 World Champion Rochester Knighthawks will kick the 2012 NLL Entry Draft with two picks in the third round on Monday, October 1st. Barring a trade, Rochester will draft its first two players with the 26th and 29th overall selections in Toronto at the Westin Harbour Castle.

With five picks in the draft, Rochester will add depth to a team that recently won the franchise’s third championship. In the team’s history, the Knighthawks have drafted three players that have made an impact on the team after getting selected in the third round or later. Two of those players are now members of the Knighthawks’ Hall of Fame and the third won the Champion’s Cup with Rochester in 2012.

One of the late-round picks was forward Cory Vitarelli, who finished fifth on the Knighthawks in points last season and was named the team’s Unsung Hero. The Peterborough, Ontario product also notched seven points in three playoff games. He was a sleeper in the 2006 NLL Entry Draft as Rochester selected Vitarelli in the fifth round (61st overall).

The first “diamond in the rough” was picked in the Knighthawks’ first draft back in 1995. Rochester chose two-time All-American for the Golden Flyers as a midfielder Jeremy Hollenbeck in the fourth round (19th overall) in the 1995 Draft. Hollenbeck was an original member of the Knighthawks' franchise and played for 10 seasons. In 1997, he was a member of the Knighthawks’ first NLL Championship team. He retired after the 2004 season after playing in 111 games and contributing 64 goals and 108 assists. A native of Jordan, NY, he was inducted into Knighthawks Hall of Fame in 2011.

Three years later, Rochester went after local defenseman and Syracuse standout Pat Cougevan in the fifth round (40th overall) in the 1998 NLL Draft. The Penn Yan, NY native was a two-time NCAA champion (1990 and 1993). He spent his entire career in Rochester, playing 11 seasons and winning an NLL title in 2007.  During his career, Cougevan ranked in the top 10 in team history in games played and was honored as the team’s community service award winner, seventh man and comeback player of the year. In his final season with the team in 2009, he served as one of the team’s alternate captains. Cougevan was inducted into Knighthawks Hall of Fame in 2012.

Knighthawks Head Coach Mike Hasen, who played alongside Hollenbeck and Cougevan, said the 2012 picks could possess the same blue-collar work ethic as the two Hall of Famers.

“Those are the rounds were you’re looking for guys that really are going to come in and work hard and really earn their spots. No matter what happens, whether you make it or you don’t make it, you have to stick with it and just come with that mentality that you are going to earn your spot every single time you’re there,” said Hasen.

Fans can follow the Knighthawks’ selections live on the The Draft on Monday begins at 7:00 p.m. in the Westin’s Metro East Room and is free of charge.

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