December 13, 2011

Knighthawks to Induct Thorpe, Cougevan to Hall of Fame

from press release

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Their careers followed similar paths so it's only appropriate that defensemen Regy Thorpe and Pat Cougevan enter the Rochester Knighthawks' Hall of Fame together. The two local lacrosse players will become the ninth and 10th members of the prestigious club on Saturday, February 18th.

From Syracuse University to Rochester and now to the Hall of Fame, Thorpe and Cougevan will long be remembered as two of the anchors of the Knighthawks' teams of the new millennium, which culminated in a 2007 National Lacrosse League Championship.

"They not only were great players, but also great guys," said Knighthawks Head Coach Mike Hasen, who played defense with both inductees. "They played the game hard, didn't take a shift off and always had your back. They were character guys."

Thorpe served as one of the team's most reliable defensemen and also worked behind the scenes as the team's general manager for a season. It's on the field, however, where Thorpe, 40, made a name for himself over 15 seasons. The Elbridge, NY, native spent his entire career in Rochester, where he stands as the team's all-time leader in games played (193), loose balls (966) and penalty minutes (385).

"When I think of the Hall of Fame, I think about the history and tradition of this franchise. The Knighthawks have been part of my family for a lot of years," said Thorpe. "I read the names of the people in the Hall of Fame that I played with and I am humbled. I had a passion for those teams and am proud to have played here my entire career."

According to former GM and current VP of Player Personnel Jody Gage, Thorpe will go down in team history as one of the best ever.

"Regy was an original Knighthawk, a true professional and one of the best all-time defensemen. He brought it every night. I don't know if anyone hit harder than Regy," said Gage. "He also knew the game and was a true leader."

Thorpe was an original Knighthawk, joining the team in 1995 out of Syracuse University. In 2008, he became the first player to also serve as a team's general manager. Owner Curt Styres named Thorpe to the post in his first season as the team's owner. Thorpe has seen the team return to its elite status over the past three seasons under Styres' leadership.

"I am really excited what Curt (Styres) and the organization has done for the Knighthawks family," said Thorpe. "I am looking forward to this season and the future of the Knighthawks."

While in Rochester, Thorpe guided the Knighthawks to six title games and 13 playoff berths in 15 seasons. More importantly, Thorpe stands as the only player in team history to play for both championship teams: 1997 and 2007. In 2005, the defensive stalwart was also named to the Knighthawks' All-Time Team.

Thorpe arrived in Rochester in 1994 after playing his college lacrosse at nearby Syracuse University (1992-93). He was one of the co-captains on the 1993 team that captured the Division I National Championship. Knighthawks Hall of Famer Randy Mearns was there when Thorpe made the transition from the field game to the box game. Mearns and Thorpe would spend the next seven seasons together in Rochester.

"When he came in he was a monster. You look back and he was the anchor of our defense," said Mearns. "He always got matched up against the opposing team's best offensive threats. He covered guys like Gary Gait, John Tavares, Paul Gait and Colin Doyle. He was a great team leader, brought 100 percent to the table and was pretty level headed. He had that winning mantra after being at Syracuse and brought that to the team."

Like Thorpe, Cougevan excelled in college at Syracuse University. The close defenseman played two of his four seasons at SU (1990-93) with Thorpe. The Penn Yan, NY, native was a two-time NCAA champion (1990 and 1993). In 1996, he followed his college teammate to the Knighthawks. Cougevan, 40, also spent his entire career in Rochester, playing 11 seasons on defense alongside Thorpe.

"Pat and I have a lot of history. We always had each other's backs and are still friends to this day. We played together in college and in the pros. In 2007 we won a championship together and that was something special," said Thorpe. "Pat was a phenomenal player and one of the best stay-at-home defensemen of all time."

The duo not only spent countless hours on the floor together, but off the floor as well. Thorpe and Cougevan travelled thousands of miles car-pooling to games and practices in just over a decade.

"He is a great player and a great friend," said Cougevan. "He is the guy that I practiced next to everyday. I am honored and surprised (by my selection), and excited to go in with Regy."

Cougevan battled his entire career to secure a starting job on some dominating Knighthawks' teams. He especially showed his tenaciousness in 2007 after returning from a torn Achilles that forced him to miss the majority of the 2006 campaign. Yet, he returned to reclaim a starting role on the Rochester defense and capped off the season with his only NLL title.

"There was a lot of pain and effort just making the team. In 2007, I put a lot into just playing that season," said Cougevan. "On that team, we had guys that played together for a long time. So when we finally won, it was really special."

During his career, Cougevan ranked in the Top 10 in team history in games played and was honored as the team's community service award winner, seventh man and comeback player of the year. In his final season with the team in 2009, he served as one of the team's alternate captains.

The Knighthawks will host the Minnesota Swarm on Saturday, December 17th in a preseason game at 7:00 p.m. at The Blue Cross Arena. Tickets for the game are free and available at the Knighthawks Office. The game is first come, first serve. Fans can drop off a new, unwrapped toy to the Marines at the arena to benefit the "Toys for Tots" drive. Kids can also meet Santa Claus one week prior to his big night delivering gifts around the world to all the good girls and boys.


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