January 30, 2014

Knighthawks Sign Hopcroft to Practice Squad

from Press Release

The Rochester Knighthawks announced today that they have signed forward Derek Hopcroft to the practice squad. The 27-year-old, who is entering his fourth season in the National Lacrosse League, admitted he has had some sleepless nights as he prepared to join his new team.

"My first reaction was that I was thrilled to get picked up by a team. It was not only another team in the league, but a rival of Buffalo," said Hopcroft. "It's definitely still nice to live at home and be able to travel back and forth to Rochester for the games."

The Toronto native has appeared in 18 games and collected 20 goals, 20 assists and 35 loose balls. He last played for the Buffalo Bandits in 2013, where he scored four goals and added seven assists in just four games. In the NLL, his best season was in 2012 when he scored 15 goals and added 11 assists in 11 games with the Colorado Mammoth. He arrived in Buffalo last season via a trade with the Mammoth.

"He is a great young player and a great outside shooter with good feet and fantastic upside," said Knighthawks Assistant Coach Paul Day.

"He brings an outside presence and has a heavy shot," added Knighthawks Assistant Coach Andy Secore.

Last night, he had his first opportunity to meet the team and practice with the Knighthawks. Rochester held its weekly session at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena in Six Nations.

"I watched a couple films this week to kind of prepare myself for practice and this weekend," said Hopcroft. "I want to be physical out there, but use a couple of my strengths on offense with my shot and setting some picks to get some guys open."

The forward was originally drafted by the Calgary Roughnecks with the 17th overall pick in the 2010 NLL Entry Draft. Hopcroft joined the Roughnecks out of Bellarmine University, where he notched 25 goals and 10 assists as a senior. He was also a two-time all-conference selection.

At the Senior "A" level, Hopcroft has an incredible "Ironman" streak, having not missed a game since joining the Brooklin Redmen in 2008. The six-year stretch has included 106 straight regular season games, plus 41 playoff contests. In 2008, he was named Major Series Lacrosse's Rookie of the Year.

In the last four years, Hopcroft has passed the 50-point mark, which included an 84-point season in 2011. That year, he finished second in MSL scoring and was first with 44 goals. Last season, he was tied for seventh in the league with 65 points (31+34) in 20 games.

Hopcroft played his junior lacrosse for the Toronto Beaches, which is where he met current Knighthawks forward Stephen Keogh. The duo not only played on the same team, but spent countless hours playing ball hockey and street lacrosse as youngsters in Toronto. This week the longtime friends will finally get a chance to play on the same professional team.

"It's going to be a fun experience," said Keogh, who last played with Hopcroft in 2006. "He is a great player with a great outside shot. I am looking forward to suiting up with another Beaches guy."

The Knighthawks (3-1) will be traveling to Edmonton to take on the Rush (4-0). The 9:00 p.m. game will be streamed live on The Lacrosse Network's YouTube Channel and broadcast via Sportsradio 950 ESPN and www.sportsradio950espn.com.

"The past couple of nights, I haven't slept like I usually do because my mind is going around and around thinking I am getting another chance back in the NLL," said Hopcroft. "I've met quite a few guys on this team and will meet some guys for the very first time. I am excited to be joining the Rochester Knighthawks family."


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