With the Knighthawks set to open their preseason with an exhibition game at home tonight against the Minnesota Swarm, their players are getting excited to launch the defence of their championship. Joe Walters talked to Daily Sports Obsession about what the title meant to him, what it means that fans can get in free to tonight’s game and what to expect in the coming season. Winning with his hometown team in front of his hometown fans was a special moment for Walters. “I have never cried after winning a championship before, but after we won I was in tears” he said. “The emotions let out, knowing the path I took and how tough it was, it made it that much more meaningful.” Make the jump for more Knighthawks news with a look back at Travis Larner’s excellent story about Cody Jamieson and his thoughts on last year and the season to come.
By Travis Larner, Knighthawks.com
The 2012 season was one Cody Jamieson will never forget. However, with the opening of Training Camp on Saturday, November 24th and Sunday, November 25th, he and his Rochester Knighthawks teammates must prepare to defend their title in 2013.
“All that stuff is in the past now. It’s a memory that we will always have. Today we started to get back into what we are here for, what we came to Rochester for to begin with: To win a championship. Today’s the start of hopefully another good run. The past is the past. It’s a memory now. All we’ve got to do now is look forward and get better,” said Jamieson after Saturday’s practice.
Training Camp opened with an hour of fitness testing followed by a three hour practice session. “Jammer”, who made his presence felt with his comedic antics while cheering fellow Syracuse Orangeman Stephen Keogh through the drills, came into camp ready to work.
“I feel great. I’ve only been a part of two camps before this, but each year I’ve felt stronger and I’ve felt faster,” said Jamieson. “It’s going to get a lot harder from here on out, but I’m happy everybody showed up in shape.”
Rochester brought in its five draft picks and several free agents to compete. During the first night of practice, Jamieson introduced himself to defenseman Josh Kacprzak by dislodging his helmet.
Jamieson has improved greatly over his first two seasons in the National Lacrosse League. After being selected first overall in the 2010 NLL Entry Draft by the Knighthawks, he led the team with 28 goals and was third with 53 points. He was selected to the NLL’s All-Rookie Team.
In 2012, the lefty-shooter from Six Nations not only increased his goal production, but he was also feeding his teammates the ball more often. His assist total nearly doubled from 25 to 49. Teammates Mike Accursi, Keogh, Johnny Powless and Cory Vitarelli benefited greatly from Jamieson’s assist increase as all four broke the 20-goal plateau. As a whole, the Knighthawks’ goal total went from 176 in 2011 to 191 in 2012.
One of the biggest stories in the NLL offseason was the signing of former league MVP Casey Powell with the Knighthawks. Many have questioned whether or not the combination of Jamieson and Powell would be effective, or if the two would fail to work together. According to Jamieson, he cannot wait to hit the turf with one of his fellow Syracuse University alumni.
“I don’t think a guy like Casey is going to come in here and demand attention. A lot of people don’t realize that all of us grew up watching him, too. He’s been in the league, he’s done it before, a guy I watched growing up from the Syracuse days,” said Jamieson.
“We’re a team. He’s coming into a great group of guys. There’s no egos out here. When we score, we all score. We when get a save, we all get a save. We’re big on family on this team,” he added.
The 2012 Champion’s Cup MVP is only two seasons removed from his rookie campaign. In 2011, he had the chance to learn from veterans like Shawn Evans and Shawn Williams. Although the third-year pro is the focal point of the offense, he hasn’t felt any pressure to take over a leadership role, and hasn’t been directed by the coaching staff to do so either. Accursi remains the eldest and most experienced member of the offensive unit.
“I just share the knowledge that I have and very, very gladly take anyone else’s knowledge that they are willing to share with me. You’re always going to get better. Lacrosse is a game where you’re never going to know everything. I like the fact that we’ve got a mix of young guys and old guys sharing wisdom,” said Jamieson.
“No, no one really said anything about leadership. I usually just put it on myself to go out and just do what I do, play my game, and do whatever it takes to help the team win.”
Although he has added a Champion’s Cup, the MVP Trophy and his championship ring to his hardware collection, Jamieson’s attitude hasn’t changed. He plays the game for one reason: to win. A team hasn’t repeated as NLL Champion since the Toronto Rock did so in 2002 and 2003, and that will be the goal of the “wolf pack” this season.
“Not too much is going to change out of me. I’ll still be the same guy, the same player. Whatever it takes for the team to win is what I’m here for.”Stamp is a TV sports announcer and lacrosse lover whose skill set made him a defender but who always dreamed of being a goal-scorer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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