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SMITH NAMED KNIGHTHAWKS CAPTAIN
01/05/2013 - 2:27pm

Accursi and Kirk will serve as assistants
The defending World Champion Rochester Knighthawks have selected their captains for the 2013 season. This morning in Washington to open the National Lacrosse League season, Rochester named Sid Smith team captain, and Mike Accursi and Mike Kirk assistant captains.

“All three of these guys are a big piece of where we need to go, and are guys that I think the other players on the floor and in the dressing room look up to and expect big things out of,” said Knighthawks Head Coach Mike Hasen.

Wearing the “C” on his chest this season, Knighthawks defenseman Sid Smith will be entering his fourth season in the league and his first as a captain for the Knighthawks. The Six Nations product was the first pick overall in the 2009 NLL Entry Draft and has been a consistent force on the backend in his three seasons with Rochester.

“It is an honor to wear the ‘C’ for this organization. We have a lot of leaders and veterans on this team,” said Smith. “It shows the coaching staff has faith in me. I will do my best to represent the team and provide leadership for the next run (at the Championship).”

A former two-time National Champion at Syracuse University, Smith has forced 27 turnovers in the last two seasons. In 42 career games, he has collected 146 loose balls, earned 40 penalty minutes and assisted on five goals. He played for the East Division in the 2011 NLL All-Star Game. He also showed his versatility in the All-Star contest by winning 15 face-offs.

“The big part of Sid is that he’s gotten better every year he’s been here. This year, coming into camp, there seems to be a great sense of confidence; confidence in his game, confidence in what he doing on the floor. He leads by example. He came into camp in better shape than he ever has been,” said Hasen. “He does a lot of good things on the floor and off the floor. He’s really improved himself that way. That’s one thing that we pride ourselves on, that hard work mentality.

Rochester’s most senior player, Accursi, is entering his 16th season in the NLL and his sixth with the Knighthawks. He has been designated as an assistant captain for the second consecutive season. The 37-year-old is only 15 points away from his 800th career point. He also hit a milestone when he gathered his 1,000th loose ball last season. Accursi’s 66 points (22+44) in 2012 proved to be his most outstanding offensive performance since he helped the Knighthawks win the 2007 NLL title. In fact, Accursi is the only Knighthawk who was a member of both the 2007 and 2012 title teams.

“Mike’s been there. He’s gone through all the battles and through all the wars, yet he still performs at a high level for us and guys gravitate towards him when he does speak. His actions on the floor prove to be stronger than his actual words are,” said Hasen.

Six-year pro Kirk will also be wearing an “A” on his jersey this season. He was one of seven players to participate in all 16 regular season games last season. He finished second on the squad with a career-high 42 penalty minutes while forcing nine turnovers and scooping 51 loose balls. He scored his first career playoff goal and set a playoff career-high with three points (1+2) in the semifinal victory over the Toronto Rock. Kirk also appeared in his first NLL All-Star Game in 2012.

“He’s a little more vocal with a few guys, especially on the floor. He’s got that desire; he’s got that passion to win. It’s contagious. The things he does on the floor, guys tend to follow. Again, even off the floor, he’s one of the hardest working guys,” said Hasen.

The Knighthawks will begin their title defense on the road to open the 2013 season. The World Champions will kick off their 19th season against the Washington Stealth tonight at 10:00 p.m. (EST). Fans can catch the game on Sportsradio 950 ESPN and online at www.sportsradio950espn.com. Viewers can also watch a live webcast of the game on The Lacrosse Network.


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