(Rochester, NY) … Rochester Knighthawks General Manager and Vice President of Lacrosse Operations Dan Carey announced today that Mike Hasen has been named head coach. Hasen becomes the first head coach in team history of the expansion-era Knighthawks and will be joined by assistant coaches Pat O’Toole and Mat Giles for Rochester’s inaugural National Lacrosse League season.
Hasen and O’Toole were both released from their contracts by the Halifax Thunderbirds earlier this week.
“These three men are knowledgeable leaders who have a lot of experience coaching at many levels,” said Carey. “Our goal as an organization is to create a winning culture, and Mike, Pat and Mat are going to be a big part of that due to their professionalism and championship acumen. They are all competitors and know what it takes to win.”
Hasen is certainly no stranger to Rochester, having served as head coach of the former Knighthawks franchise since the 2011 season. In nine seasons behind the bench, Hasen guided Rochester to an 81-75 regular season record while leading the team to six playoff appearances. The Knighthawks also finished among the top two teams in the East Division six different times under Hasen, including each of the first five seasons (2011-2015).
“Mike’s successes as a coach and as a player were extremely appealing when considering him for the head coaching position,” said Carey. "Getting to know him and his approach made the difficult decision of finding the right coach a little easier.”
“I am humbled and excited to be a part of the Rochester Knighthawks,” said Hasen. “I want to thank Dan Carey for this opportunity to be a part of this great organization and work towards bringing a championship back to Rochester. Speaking with Dan these past couple weeks, he has a great passion and vision for putting together a team that this city will be proud to support, and I am very excited to be a piece of his vision. When I was traded to the Knighthawks in 1999, all I've wanted to do was be a Knighthawk and help make this team successful anyway possible. I want to thank Curt Styres for his belief in me and allowing me to continue to follow my dream and making me part of his Knighthawk family, a family that did many special things together. I am excited to be working with Dan, Paddy, Matt, Kyle, Jody, Ripper and all the staff at the Knighthawks office to help build a family that Rochester will be proud of once again.
Hasen’s most successful run at the helm of the Knighthawks came from 2012-14 when he made National Lacrosse League history by leading Rochester to an unprecedented three straight Champion’s Cups. He remains the only NLL bench boss to accomplish the feat.
In 2014, he guided Rochester to the top of the East Division with a 14-4 record, which was the second-best mark in the NLL. The Knighthawks went 12-1 within the East Division and posted an NLL-best 8-1 record at home. He capped off the season by defeating the Calgary Roughnecks in the NLL Championship Series.
During the 2013 season, the Toronto, Ontario, native became the first-ever Rochester coach to lead his team to consecutive titles, following an 11-10 victory over the Washington Stealth in the Champion’s Cup Finals. In 2012, he guided Rochester to its first NLL Championship since the 2007 season.
In 2011, he made league history with his selection as the NLL Coach of the Year, becoming the first rookie head coach to win the Les Bartley Award. That season, the Knighthawks returned to the playoffs for the first time since the 2009 campaign. The team ended the regular season on a four-game road winning streak and finished in a three-way tie for first in the East Division at 10-6.
In February of 2011, Hasen was inducted into the Knighthawks Hall of Fame following 10 seasons as a player. He helped anchor the Rochester defense from 1999 to 2007, ending his career by winning the 2007 Champion’s Cup. At the time of his retirement, he ranked fifth in games played (114), loose balls (575) and penalty minutes (188). He also served as the team captain for five seasons (2002-03 to 2007). In his career, he played in 150 games and recorded 23 goals, 82 assists and 704 loose balls. He was also named the team MVP in 2003-04 and was a two-time winner of the team’s Unsung Hero Award (2000-01 to 2001-02) and a three-time recipient of the Best Defenseman honor.
Hasen was also named to the Canadian All-Star team for the inaugural NLL All-Star Game in 1999. Before arriving in Rochester, he played with the Buffalo Bandits from 1996 to 1999. He tallied 45 points (10+35) in four seasons with Buffalo and was honored as the Bandits’ top defensive player in 1997. He was also selected the Unsung Hero of Buffalo’s 1996 MILL championship team.
Much like Hasen, O’Toole is synonymous with the Rochester lacrosse scene after spending the previous nine seasons as an assistant coach and 12 others as a player with the previous Knighthawks franchise. During his tenure, Rochester advanced to the postseason five times and won a league-record three straight Champion’s Cups from 2012-14. In 2015, he also worked alongside Hasen as an assistant coach with Team England at the FIL World Lacrosse Championship.
“Pat O’Toole is one of the most knowledgeable individuals in the game of lacrosse. He is dedicated to the sport and is well respected within the lacrosse community. I’m excited to see the influence he will have on our players and staff alike,” said Carey.
O’Toole, who will oversee the defense, made a smooth transition to coaching after a Hall of Fame playing career. Widely known as one of the greatest goalies in team and league history, O’Toole announced his retirement on Dec. 23, 2010 following a 16-year professional playing career, the final 12 of which was spent in Rochester.
"I am glad to be staying in Rochester, where I have been for so many years, which feels like home to me,” said O’Toole. “I look forward to working with this great staff and building a team and product on the floor that will continue to make Rochester and our Knighthawks fans proud."
A native of Brampton, Ontario, O’Toole posted an astounding 115-56 record with an 11.40 goals-against average and a .768 save percentage over 204 career games with the Knighthawks, Buffalo Bandits and New York Saints. He was a workhorse in goal, logging 10,285 minutes and finishing first overall in saves with 6,464. He also backstopped his teams to two championships, first with Buffalo in 1996 and then again with Rochester in 2007.
O’Toole finished his stint with the original Knighthawks as the franchise’s all-time leader in wins (102) and saves (5,756). In 173 games, he recorded a 102-51 record, an 11.21 goals-against average and a .771 save percentage. He revolutionized the game as he became a legitimate scoring threat, netting three goals as a Knighthawk, which is the NLL record for goals by a goaltender. O’Toole also chipped in 136 assists, hitting teammates with memorable floor-length passes.
He guided the Knighthawks to their second NLL championship (2007) and was also the franchise’s all-time leader in postseason wins (9) and saves (644). Additionally, he guided the Knighthawks to Finals appearances in 1999, 2000 and 2003. O’Toole was one of the keys to Rochester’s 17-2 championship season in 2007. He was popular amongst his teammates as he was three times voted the team’s MVP. He was also a two-time All-Pro and the league’s 2003 Goaltender of the Year. In 2013, he was named to the Knighthawks Hall of Fame and the NLL Hall of Fame.
O’Toole was originally drafted by the New York Saints in 1995. He played for the Buffalo Bandits and was a member of the 1996 MILL champion Bandits team. That season, he led the MILL in save percentage, was named the Bandits’ Best Defensive Player and MVP of the 1996 MILL Championship Game.
Giles joins the expansion-era Knighthawks as an assistant coach and will oversee the team’s offense in its inaugural season in 2019-20. The 43-year-old joins the Knighthawks after working as a scout for the National Lacrosse League’s Colorado Mammoth in 2018-19.
“Mat Giles is someone I have an incredible amount of respect for. He is as loyal as they come and will be a great person to influence our players in many situations. I know he will be someone our players will enjoy playing for due to his honest and trustworthy approach,” said Carey.
“I’m excited to be a part of building something special in Rochester. The opportunity to work with some of the best coaches in the game right now is humbling. I can’t wait to get this started,” said Giles.
The Toronto, Ontario, native begins his first coaching stint in the NLL after closing out a playing career that spanned 15 seasons with 12 different teams from 1999-2013. In 192 career games with Buffalo, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Edmonton, Toronto, Rochester, Ottawa, Montreal, Columbus and Albany, Giles amassed 513 points (228+285), including 55 points (31+24) over a two-year stop with the former Knighthawks franchise from 2004-05. He won an NLL Championship as a rookie with the Toronto Rock in 1999.
During the summer, Giles won four Mann Cups with the Peterborough Lakers, earning titles in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2012.
Over the past decade, Giles has been hard at work building a solid coaching resume. In 2018, he coached Team Ontario to a silver medal at the Canadian Lacrosse Association’s Midget Box Lacrosse National Championship in Calgary.
In 2015, Giles served as the co-coach of the Canadian entry for the inaugural World U19 Indoor Lacrosse Championships. That same year, he began a two-year stint as the head coach of the Canadian Lacrosse League’s Durham Turfdogs. In his inaugural season, he led the Turfdogs to a 4-4 record and a berth in the semifinals. In 2016, Durham finished second during the regular season and then captured the Creator’s Cup championship. Giles was named the Coach of the Year for his efforts.
His first coaching job was with the Junior “A” Peterborough Lakers. In five seasons, he led the team to four consecutive Ontario Lacrosse Association (OLA) semifinals, while winning the OLA Junior “A” Coach of the Year Award in 2011. As the Lakers’ bench boss, he compiled a record of 59-43 in the regular season and 19-21 in the playoffs.
The Knighthawks also announced today that Kyle Sorensen has been appointed the team’s Western Scout.
New Season Ticket Memberships for the 2019-20 season start as low as just $16 per seat, with Loyalty Member pricing beginning at just $15 depending on seat location. Fans can take advantage of this special offer and lock in their seats with a $50 deposit per seat by July 15. For more information, visit www.rochesterknighthawks.com/season-tickets or call 585-454-5335 and speak with a Knighthawks sales representative.