One of league’s most accomplished scorers returns to NLL with Rochester
The Rochester Knighthawks have announced the signing of seasoned National Lacrosse League veteran Gavin Prout to a one-year deal. Known for his grit and clutch playoff performances, the forward enters his 13th season in the NLL in 2015.
“It’s a great feeling. I took last year off and went in a different direction with work and travel, but I never lost the itch to play,” Prout said. “It’s just an honor for a team like the Knighthawks, who have won the last three championships, to have interest in a guy like me.”
By signing Prout, the Knighthawks have added a player who ranks sixth in the league all-time in assists (621) and eighth in points (922). He has also notched 301 goals in 184 games. The Whitby, Ontario native has made nine playoff appearances and won the 2006 Champion’s Cup with the Colorado Mammoth. He also received Champion’s Cup MVP honors after a stellar seven-point performance (4+3).
Since joining the league, Prout has appeared in seven NLL All-Star Games (2002, 2004-09). The 36-year-old, right-handed forward was originally drafted first overall in the 2001 NLL Entry Draft.
The 2015 season, however, will not be the first time Prout has played for a team in Rochester as he spent a two-year stint in the city playing in the outdoor summer league.
“Gavin is a great teammate and will do whatever is needed for the team to be successful,” said Knighthawks forward Joe Walters, who played with Prout from 2007-09 in the outdoor league.
Prout earned a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2006 FIL World Lacrosse Championships. In the indoor game, Prout won a pair of Minto Cups with Whitby (1997 and 1999) and a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2007 FIL World Indoor Lacrosse Championships.
“He is a veteran with a track record as a winner,” said Knighthawks assistant coach Paul Day. “He will provide depth to the team and can play on all of the special teams.”
Besides playing summer indoor lacrosse, Prout has been training hard to prepare for this opportunity with Rochester.
“I am definitely looking forward to it. This past couple of years, I have really focused on my training and getting my conditioning up and running again, and playing whatever games I could around here,” he said. “I have been working out on my own with a personal trainer. I am looking forward to coming into camp and competing once again.”
Knighthawks assistant general manager Landon Miller expects to see a motivated and hungry Prout at Training Camp the weekend of November 22-23 in Rochester.
“He is coming onboard to add some depth to the right side,” said Miller. “We expect him to come in and compete hard. I know he is anxious to show the lacrosse world he still has a little bit of lacrosse left in him.”
“My ultimate goal right now is to make the roster and bring something different to the team,” said Prout. “Hopefully, they see the value I bring with my leadership and on the floor experience. If I find myself on the team, it will be a very exciting time and like finding the fountain of youth. It will allow me to get out there and do what I am capable of doing.”
The Knighthawks also announced the signing of Don Alton to a one-year deal. The 21-year-old goalie brings a championship acumen to the three-time defending National Lacrosse League champs.
This past summer, Alton had a career best season as he helped the Six Nations Arrows win the coveted Junior “A” Minto Cup. He was an Ontario Lacrosse Association First Team All-Star, the OLA Goaltender of the Year and the co-winner of the Robert Melville Award for lowest goals-against average.
“It took us a while to get there, but once you get there you realize why you worked so hard,” said Alton. “It wasn’t just that year, but the three, four, five years that I worked toward that ultimate goal of winning a Minto Cup. To finally reach it was really something special.”
Over his three seasons with the Arrows, Alton compiled a 26-4 record, a 7.13 goals-against average and a .790 save percentage. In his Junior “B” career, Alton was a two-time Founders Cup champion and a two-time co-winner of the league’s Goaltender of the Year Award.
Alton now joins a team he has been following for most of his life. His big introduction to the Knighthawks was at a weekend lacrosse camp in Hamilton, Ontario when he was 7 years old. At the camp, the first-year Novice goalie learned from the Knighthawks goaltending duo of Pat O’Toole and Pat Campbell.
“I tried to pick up a foundation I could build from at the young age. I wanted to continue developing as a goalie by using the foundation that they were teaching at the camp. That’s when I really started becoming interested in being a goalie,” said Alton. “I never really thought that I would reach a competitive level as high as this, but obviously I made the right choice switching to a goalie.”
Over the years, O’Toole has seen Alton play on several occasions, which included his participation in the NLL Combine. Alton’s style was reminiscent of another former NLL standout netminder.
“His play reminds me a lot of Dallas Eliuk. He is very quick and very agile. His focus is unbelievable. He plays his angles and moves exceptionally well,” said O’Toole. “He’s one of those guys who reads shooters and reacts. His biggest asset when he gets here will be his ability to get across the net and move into the shot.”
Alton, who was the 33rd overall pick in the 2013 NLL Draft by Philadelphia, will join his new team on Saturday, November 22nd as the Knighthawks open Training Camp at Total Sports Experience in East Rochester.
“We want him to come into camp and be competitive,” said Knighthawks assistant general manager Landon Miller, who also serves as the President of the Six Nations Arrows. “He has faced quality shots from quality shooters. He will give us the depth we are looking for.”
When he arrives at camp, Alton will be reunited with several former Arrows, which will help him settle in immediately.
“It’s nice to have a chemistry with a lot of the guys, or at least an understanding of who everybody is. Most of them know who I am just from being around Six Nations,” said Alton. “It’s going to be nice going in and knowing a lot of the guys. I think it will be really easy to fit in there.”