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12/04/2013 - 10:25am

(December 4, 2013)… Veteran Mike Kirk renegotiated the final year of his previous contract as part of a new four-year deal with the two-time defending National Lacrosse League champions, making him a Rochester Knighthawk through the 2017 season.

“Anytime you re-sign with the team that’s won the last two championships, that’s a place you want to be, and where you want to be for the future,” Kirk said. “It’s just an honor to be with the team for the next few years.”

The 6-3, 215 pound defenseman is entering his eighth season in the NLL and his third with the Knighthawks after being chosen with the fifth overall selection in the Dispersal Draft of Boston players in September of 2011. He began his career as a third-round pick with the Chicago Shamrox in the 2006 NLL Entry Draft out of Dickinson College.

“I’m 100 percent confident in Kirky’s’ ability,” said Rochester Head Coach Mike Hasen. “That’s kind of one reason why we made him our first pick in the supplemental draft out of Boston.”

In two seasons with the Knighthawks, Kirk has earned nine assists and has collected 123 loose balls, including a career-high 72 loosies in 2013. He scored his first career playoff goal on May 12, 2012 in Rochester’s 17-13 victory over the Toronto Rock in the East Division Finals. Kirk saw his streak of consecutive games played end this past season at 105 when he missed the Knighthawks’ March 16th contest, the only game he hasn’t suited up for since entering the league in 2007.

Assistant Coach Jason Johnson has referred to Kirk as a “coach on the floor” for the NLL’s best defense, which surrendered a league-low 10.31 goals against in 2013 en route to its second straight Champion’s Cup.

“He’s just one of those guys that you know when something starts going a little crazy, he’s the guy on the back end that can help calm things down,” Johnson said. “We believe, especially the guys on the back end, that defense can win championships, and having those stay-at-home defensemen I think makes it comfortable for ‘Vno’ (Matt Vinc) knowing there are guys there that he can really trust to be there for him.”

The Orangeville, Ontario native has spent the past nine seasons with the Major Series’ Brampton Execlsiors, where he has played alongside a handful of Knighthawks, including the Dawson brothers. Kirk also won his third Mann Cup in 2011 with the Excels with Hasen as his head coach.

“I personally know what he can do for us and for the team, and so far he’s proven that. It’s good he’s going to be around for a little while longer,” Hasen said.

“He’s a great teammate. I’ve had the pleasure of playing with him for a while now. I played a couple of years in Brampton with him and in Boston as well,” said Paul Dawson. “He’s a great (locker) room guy first and foremost and he’s a great guy on the floor. He’s kind of what you call a ‘glue guy’ because he keeps everyone in check and helps keep the team together.”

According to Kirk, who was an assistant captain for the Knighthawks last season, the focus for the franchise’s 20th anniversary season is not on becoming the first team in league history to win three championships in a row.

“I don’t think that’s a thought,” he said. “I think our thought is to win a Champion’s Cup, just like every other team in the league. We can’t think about three in a row. It’s a brand new year, a brand new season, and brand new rules. But our goal is to win a Champion’s Cup.”

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