Mat Giles named as­sis­tant coach with Rochester Knighthawk­s

There are plenty of Lak­ers connection­s on the NLL team

The Peterborough Examiner - - SPORTS - MIKE DAVIES EX­AM­INER SPORTS DI­REC­TOR [email protected]­ter­bor­ough­daily.com

Mat Giles re­turned to the Na­tional Lacrosse League and high-level coach­ing again on Satur­day night.

Giles re­tired from the NLL as a player in 2014 and holds the league record for play­ing on the most teams at 12. He coached the Peter­bor­ough Merit Pre­ci­sion Jr. A Lak­ers from 2008-15 and the CLax’s Durham Turf­dogs in 2015-16. While he’s con­tin­ued to coach mi­nor lacrosse, Giles al­ways hoped to one day coach in the NLL and was hired as an as­sis­tant coach by the ex­pan­sion Rochester Knighthawk­s. He joins head coach Mike Hasen, who he played two sea­sons with in Rochester, and his for­mer Lak­ers team­mate Pat O’Toole, an as­sis­tant coach. Knighthawk­s GM Dan Carey served as an as­sis­tant coach to Giles with the Jr. A Lak­ers. Carey first ap­proached Giles last year to do some scout­ing for him in prepa­ra­tion for the NLL ex­pan­sion draft.

“I think he val­ued my opin­ion,” said Giles, “and it sort of went from there. When (Hasen) was hired Dan men­tioned my name and it all worked out.”

It was ex­cit­ing for Giles to be back at Rochester’s Blue Cross Arena on Satur­day even if the game, a 14-4 loss to the Ge­or­gia Swarm, didn’t go as de­sired.

“It’s great to be back with a group of coaches and man­agers I have play­ing ex­pe­ri­ence with who you can trust and be hon­est with in the room,” he said. “I was re­ally ex­cited when Dan talked to me about com­ing there. Play­ing with Mike for a few years in Rochester and know­ing his de­meanour, I was ex­cited to learn from him. Hav­ing Patty here in Peter­bor­ough, it was a re­la­tion­ship that was al­ways great, his per­son­al­ity in the room and never los­ing his cool. He was like the older guy when we were a bunch of young hot heads. He kept us cool as a player. Be­ing able to see him do that as a coach is great.”

The Knighthawk­s are a mix of veter­ans like Shawn Evans, Turner Evans, Holden Cat­toni and Paul Daw­son and rook­ies like Dan Michel, Tyler Gaulton and Doug Utting.

It was tough to know what to ex­pect for the first-year team, but Satur­day was an eye-opener.

“If you looked at our lineup on pa­per, our strong­est suit was our of­fence and ob­vi­ously we didn’t per­form (Satur­day) night,” said Giles. “I don’t think go­ing for­ward that’s us. We will be bet­ter but it was eye-open­ing to play one of the top teams in the NLL and see how big, how fast and how few mis­takes they make. It was good for us in a way be­cause it opens eyes for the six to eight rook­ies we’re go­ing to have in the lineup ev­ery night that where we are isn’t good enough.”

Still, it wasn’t the young play­ers who cost them the game, said Giles. He felt the de­fence and goal­tend­ing were re­spectable.

“We just never found our rhythm of­fen­sively. We looked bet­ter through camp in scrim­mages against other teams. (Satur­day) night a lot of it was our older guys try­ing to do too much and once we started do­ing that, ev­ery­thing went south.”

Giles said there is re­ally only one ex­pec­ta­tion for the new team.

“To get bet­ter is our only ex­pec­ta­tion,” he said. “We can’t put a huge em­pha­sis on where we are go­ing. We want to get bet­ter each week and keep learn­ing.

“With so many young guys, there is no ceil­ing on where we can go. We’ve picked a good group of young guys who seem to ab­sorb ev­ery­thing they’re be­ing taught.”

CLIF­FORD SKARSTEDT/EX­AM­INER FILE PHOTO

Mat Giles, seen here coach­ing the Peter­bor­ough Merit Pre­ci­sion Jr. A Lak­ers in 2017, has been hired as an as­sis­tant coach with the Rochester Knighthawk­s of the Na­tional Lacrosse League.

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