Knighthawks Activate Eric Fannell
The Rochester Knighthawks announced today that they have activated Eric Fannell from the physically unable to perform list (PUP). The former first-round pick will travel with the team to Saskatoon as the Knighthawks play the Saskatchewan Rush Saturday night.
"I am excited and grateful for the opportunity that the coaching staff has given me," said Fannell. "I am also thankful to be getting back with my teammates."
Last season, Fannell posted 16 goals and 21 assists in 14 regular season games. During the team's run to the National Lacrosse League Finals, he collected six goals and five assists in five playoff games. He was rewarded by being named to the 2018 NLL All-Rookie Team, along with teammates Austin Shanks and Jake Withers.
"There are a lot of positives to build on. I am happy with the way the season went," said Fannell about his rookie campaign. "I hope we can turn this season around and get back to where we were last year, the (NLL) Finals."
Fannell, who signed a one-year extension in the offseason, was Rochester's sixth overall pick in the 2017 NLL Entry Draft. The St. Catharines, Ontario, native was part of a historic draft class, as Rochester made NLL history by choosing three players from the same university in the first round. The Knighthawks took Fannell after selecting fellow Ohio State University teammates Jake Withers and Austin Shanks.
"Last year, Eric showed that he could be an impact player in this league," said Knighthawks Owner and General Manager Curt Styres. "He sets hard picks, has great hands and brings more size and grittiness to the left side of the offense."
Before arriving in Rochester, Fannell excelled at Ohio State as he led the team in assists (30) and points (66) while finishing second with 36 goals in 2017. His point and assist totals both tied for 10th in single-season program history. At the Junior "A" level, he played for the St. Catharines Athletics from 2012-15 and amassed 76 goals and 68 assists in 57 games. He played the first two seasons as a goalie and was named the 2012 OLA regular season MVP.
In his Major Senior Lacrosse (MSL) career, he spent two seasons with the Oakville Rock and one with the Six Nations Chiefs. This summer, the 24-year-old scored eight goals and dished out nine assists in eight games with the Chiefs. In the playoffs, he was tied for second with nine points (3+6) in six contests. In his MSL career, he has scored 20 goals and added 25 assists for 45 points in 23 games.
After an impressive rookie and summer season, Fannell is poised for a breakout sophomore campaign in the NLL. His versatility is what makes him a valuable asset on the left side of the offense. Knighthawks assistant coach Mike Accursi, who also coached Fannell at the Junior "A" level, has high expectations for the gritty forward.
"He has size and is deceptively fast," said Accursi. "He has great hands and is great in the pick-and-roll game. He gets a lot of loose balls; those are extra opportunities that turn into goals for us. He is a real benefit in that area. He is a big body that can drive guys to the net. He is a guy who can do a little bit of everything."
This weekend, Fannell will be counted on to do what he does best, create space on the floor and finish when he has the opportunity. He definitely is a welcome addition to the Rochester offense.
"Eric will bring his size, speed, and strength on the left side and use all his tools effectively," said Knighthawks President of Lacrosse Operations Jake Henhawk. "He brings a dynamic I think we have been missing up front. We look forward to his return in hopes he can build on his impressive rookie campaign. He is anxious to get back in the lineup, and we are certain he will have an immediate impact his first shift."
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Eric Fannell of the Rochester Knighthawks
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