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KIDS COMPETING IN KNIGHTHAWKS CHAMPIONSHIPS
02/21/2013 - 9:38pm

Tyler Burton will spend his Friday at a lacrosse arena, but he won’t be working on his own game. Instead, the Rochester Knighthawks defenseman will step behind the bench to coach kids from Upstate Indoor Lacrosse as they compete for the inaugural Knighthawks Upstate Indoor Lacrosse Championships.

“It's different coaching rather than playing that's for sure. It lets me see a different side of the game, but it's also a lot of fun. This program is the first of its kind here, and I am happy to be a part of it and help give back to the players,” said the three-year NLL pro. “It has the same name but indoor is very different from field. I had help transitioning to the field game, so I like being able to help with the transition to the indoor game. It's a great program and tournament, and I am glad to be a part of it.”

The event will take place in Rochester from February 22-23 with players from Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse competing for the Champion’s Cup. The first game faces off Friday morning at 9:00 a.m. at the Rochester Sports Garden. Games continue throughout the day with the final game concluding around 4:00 p.m. On Saturday, three champions will be crowned Saturday at The Blue Cross Arena with the first Championship starting at 1:00 p.m.

In January, the Knighthawks partnered with Upstate Indoor Lacrosse to help create the next generation of professional lacrosse players. As part of the two-year deal, Upstate Indoor Lacrosse will serve as the exclusive indoor youth training organization of the Knighthawks.

“Curt Styres has a passion for the sport of lacrosse and believes in developing and growing the game from the grassroots,” said Knighthawks President Lewis Staats about the team’s Owner and General Manager. “Our partnership with Upstate Indoor Lacrosse will help grow the game of lacrosse in western New York and hopefully also create some new Knighthawks fans. We are excited to partner with other organizations that share our vision, and believe in supporting youth to become better citizens by having the opportunity to play sports.”

Through the relationship, the Knighthawks provides mentors like Burton and resources to Upstate Indoor Lacrosse. The NLL team has also created the Knighthawks Upstate Indoor Lacrosse Championship, which kicks off Friday. Regional Director Kevin McMaster, who is in his third year at the helm, said the addition of the Knighthawks will allow Upstate Indoor Lacrosse to offer kids more access to the premier indoor team in the region.

“We are very excited for this partnership between Upstate Indoor Lacrosse and the Rochester Knighthawks. This has been a long time coming and something great, not only for the league, but the community as a whole,” said McMaster. “With a strong partner like the Knighthawks in our corner, we will be able to bring a high-quality product not only to the Rochester community, but also the surrounding cities like Buffalo and Syracuse.”

Upstate Indoor Lacrosse has 467 kids and draws players from Monroe, Wayne, Wyoming, Cayuga, Seneca, Onondaga and Erie counties. Kids from 8 years old to seniors in high school participate in a 12-week league at the Rochester Sports Garden. Players will appear at practice sessions as often as possible. Rochester native and Knighthawks’ forward Joe Walters and Burton are two of the players who will teach local kids about the intricacies of the indoor game.

"Our partnership with Upstate Indoor Lacrosse is exciting for the kids in our region. I can remember growing up playing box lacrosse, but it was more or less field lacrosse in a box,” said Walters. “Being able to teach kids box lacrosse skills at a young age and continue as they progress will only help them develop into well-rounded players. I look forward to passing on my experiences with the Knighthawks and Brampton Excelsiors."

For further questions about Upstate Indoor Lacrosse, please contact Regional Director Kevin McMaster at (585) 737-5100 or via email kmcmaster@upstateindoorlacrosse.com.


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