The Rochester Knighthawks announced today that defenseman Mike Manley has been added to the active roster. After a two-year hiatus, the Penn Yan native, who recently signed a one-year deal, rejoins his hometown team.
“Growing up, I always watched the Knighthawks play and always went to the games,” he said. “It has always been an achievement of mine to try to put on that Knighthawks jersey and play in front of the home crowd. For me, it’s more than an honor to be back with the Knighthawks.”
It has been a year in the making for the 30-year-old Manley, who works as a New York State trooper in Wayne County, to make his return to the National Lacrosse League. During that time, the former Knighthawk has kept the lines of communication open with Owner and General Manager Curt Styres and VP of Player Personnel Jody Gage.
“I would go to the games and watch them, and I started to miss the game,” said Manley. “I had that itch to get back out there on the floor. I was talking to Jody and Curt, and they told me to come to practice.”
“Once I got settled in at my new station, I have been able to have more time on, so I can move my schedule around more,” he added. “It’s a little easier to do that.”
Manley recently completed a two-week evaluation process with the team before he was added to the team’s active roster today. He will now begin his fifth season in the National Lacrosse League. Since breaking into the league with the Philadelphia Wings in 2013, Manley has been a solid contributor on defense. Over the past four seasons, he has collected five goals, 14 assists and an impressive 195 loose balls.
“We are excited to have Mike back with the Knighthawks,” said Styres. “He is in great shape and will add more strength to our team on the defensive end of the floor.”
Prior to making the jump to the NLL, Manley was a three-time All-American at Duke University. Besides playing in the professional indoor league, he has also been a standout defenseman in Major League Lacrosse. In his career, he has played in two All-Star Games (2013-14) and was awarded the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award in 2014. Manley was also co-MLL Defensive Player of the Year in 2016.
In 2018, Manley played for the Dallas Rattlers and collected one goal and 17 ground balls in seven games. In his seven MLL seasons, which included six with the Rochester Rattlers, Manley posted 15 goals, two two-point goals and two assists in 63 games. He also scooped up 183 ground balls.
“He is a big body and a great one-on-one defender,” said Gage. “He’s played in this league, and we all know what he can do outdoors. He played at Duke and was Defender of the Year in the MLL. He’s really smart and has a great lax IQ.”
Manley last played in the NLL in 2016. That season, he was acquired in a three-player deal with the New England Black Wolves and played in a pair of games with Rochester. Manley, who is known for his gritty, hard-nosed style, will be a welcomed addition to the Knighthawks’ roster.
“Mike will help a lot,” said former Knighthawks team captain and defenseman Scott Campbell. “He is a big man and an amazing athlete. He has the speed and smarts to play against shifty ‘O’ guys or can play the bang and crash game with larger offensive guys. I’m excited to have him back.”
During the past two weeks, Manley has had the opportunity to get reacquainted with some of his old teammates as he practiced with the Knighthawks in Six Nations.
“I just had to get my feet under me a little bit because the game is really fast,” he said. “It felt great to be back with the guys.”
For more, visit www.knighthawks.com