August 13, 2014 - National Lacrosse League (NLL) - Rochester Knighthawks
The Rochester Knighthawks announced today that the team has re-signed Derek Hopcroft to a two-year deal. In 2014, the 28-year-old forward won his first Champion's Cup in his first season in Rochester.
"I'm excited and pumped to be back with the Knighthawks for another couple years to help the team win another championship," said Hopcroft.
In his four seasons in the NLL, he has collected 21 goals, 21 assists and 35 loose balls in 19 games. Hopcroft made his Knighthawks' debut on April 19th against the Buffalo Bandits, and made an immediate impact. He scored the go-ahead goal early in the second quarter and then assisted on the final goal of the game as he fed Cody Jamieson in the 8-4 win.
"He adds depth to our right side with a heavy accurate shot and a smart game," said Jamieson. "He has proven himself in the opportunities he has earned."
Head Coach Mike Hasen was aware of Hopcroft's offensive talents prior to his debut, but was even more impressed by his commitment to the team. He was a perfect fit for the Knighthawks with his team-first mentality.
"'Hoppy' came in and added some good depth last year, worked hard and pushed everyone to be better," said Hasen. "This year we are looking for him to come in and compete, and push guys for that position on the front end. We expect good things from him this season."
"He has a great attitude and would do anything for the team," said Knighthawks forward Stephen Keogh. "His work on and off the floor shows that he wants to continue to get better."
Hopcroft joined the Knighthawks as a free agent on January 29th after scoring nine goals and adding six assists with the Durham Turfdogs in the Canadian Lacrosse League (CLax) in 2014. The Toronto native was originally drafted by the Calgary Roughnecks with the 17th overall pick in the 2010 NLL Entry Draft. In his career, he has played for teams in Calgary, Colorado and Buffalo.
Hopcroft would like nothing more than to help the Knighthawks battle for an unprecedented fourth straight NLL Championship. This summer, he played a prominent role with the Brooklin Redmen's offense, finishing the Major Series Lacrosse season with 28 points (12+16) in 10 games. He also spent long hours in the gym to get ready for the 2015 NLL season.
"I am going to be training a lot in the offseason. I am working on a few different things in the summer that I need to strengthen in my game, whether it's setting picks and playing on the inside rather than just taking the outside shot," said Hopcroft. "I am definitely going to come to training camp in the best shape possible. I want to crack one of those spots for sure."