News | 6/27/2011 11:29:03 AM | ROCHESTER AMERICANS
Three years ago, there were doubts about the survival of the Rochester Americans and Knighthawks into the 2008-09 season. That’s when Curt Styres arrived in Rochester and rescued two of Rochester’s cornerstone sports franchises.
“On behalf of the entire Rochester community, I wish to extend my gratitude to Curt Styres and his management team for saving our storied hockey and lacrosse franchises from financial ruin and bringing them back to greatness,” said Mayor Thomas S. Richards. “We are delighted that Mr. Styres will remain here to run the Knighthawks and I am sure thousands of fans can’t wait to begin cheering on our Amerks, both here and as they go on to play as Buffalo Sabres in the National Hockey League.”
Styres has injected millions of dollars into the teams and now hands over the second oldest team in the American Hockey League to the Buffalo Sabres as part of a deal that was announced Friday. The deal marks the re-uniting of the two clubs who once had a 29-year affiliation, which was the longest in professional hockey. Under Styres’ leadership, the Amerks advanced to the postseason in 2009-10 and re-established the club as valuable corporate partner under Styres. That included creating the Knighthawks/Amerks Charitable Foundation, Inc. that donated over $250,000 to local charities in three years.
On the lacrosse side, he founded the Junior Knighthawks in 2011 to teach area kids box lacrosse free of charge. He also gave inner-city lacrosse players the chance to play at The Blue Cross Arena and enjoy their first Knighthawks games.
“When we arrived in Rochester three years ago we had one goal in mind and that was re-build the Rochester Americans and Knighthawks into professional sports teams that the community could be proud of, and show their support by buying tickets and coming to a game or by becoming a corporate partner,” said team President Lewis Staats. “We believe that we accomplished this, and with the deal that was announced Friday we believe that the Rochester Americans are in good hands for the future with Mr. Pegula and his team. Both myself and Curt Styres remain committed to taking the Knighthawks to even greater heights with our eye still set on winning another NLL championship for the city of Rochester.”
The Knighthawks will focus on winning a championship after coming off their most successful season since the 2007 championship campaign. Rochester finished in a three-way tie for first place and lost to the eventual champion Toronto Rock in the playoffs. The team set a league record by winning six individual awards, while placing one player on the All-Rookie Team and two on the First Team All-Pro team. Styres was rewarded for his success on and off the field by becoming the first person to win the NLL’s Executive of the Year and the General Manager of the Year in the same season.
The Knighthawks are committed to Rochester but need the assistance of the fans and corporate partners to make the last push to win their third NLL championship. With back-to-back NLL Goalie of the Year Matt Vinc, perennial All-Pro Shawn Williams and the past two first overall picks in Sid Smith and Cody Jamieson, the team has the right mixture of veterans and young talent to make the 2012 season a memorable one.
Knighthawks President Lewis Staats also announced the “Drive for Five in Fifty Five.” The campaign is to sell 5,000 season tickets for the 2012 Knighthawks season in 55 days with the campaign officially kicking off on July 1st and ending on August 24th.
The ticket campaign allows the community of Rochester to shows its support of Curt Styres for his continued investment in the city and to demonstrate that the fans of Rochester truly do want the Knighthawks to stay in Rochester.
The Knighthawks season ticket base for the past two years has hovered around 2,400 season tickets sold. A successful “Drive for Five” would see a doubling of season ticket sales over the past two seasons and show Mr. Styres that the city really does want the Knighthawks to stay in the community