Mike Accursi returns to the Turf with the Knighthawks
(January 31, 2014)… Mike Accursi will have to pack a second bag when he travels to Edmonton this weekend, following his move from the front office to the front door with the Rochester Knighthawks. The 38-year-old forward signed a one-year deal with the back-to-back champs after serving as the Knighthawks Team Operations/Assistant Coordinator for the past six weeks.
“It feels great. I still loved playing and being around the guys,” said Accursi. “I’m definitely excited to be back and excited to contribute whatever way that I can to help this team win.”
Accursi returns to the active roster to begin his 17th season in the National Lacrosse League and seventh with the Knighthawks. He is expected to make his 2014 debut Saturday as Rochester (3-1) plays the Edmonton Rush (4-0) at 9:00 p.m. at Rexall Place.
“We have to continue to stick to our game plan that made us successful the first three games. We don’t want to overthink it or change too much,” said Accursi. “We just have to go in there hungry. We are fighting for survival week in and week out because that ultimately will determine your playoff position.”
Accursi knows all about playoff success, helping his teams reach the postseason in 12 of his 16 seasons. That includes all six seasons he has been a Knighthawk (2005-07 and 2011-13). He also has the distinction of being the only player in Rochester history to have won three of the franchise’s four Champion’s Cups.
His leadership and veteran presence are what make him even more valuable, according to Knighthawks Assistant Captain Mike Kirk.
“He brings a wealth of knowledge to an already strong team,” he said. “We are really looking forward to him contributing in a leadership role and with his play on the floor.”
“He brings veteran leadership, and has great knowledge and perspective of the game,” added Assistant Coach Andy Secore.
In 2013, Accursi notched 18 goals and added 18 assists in 13 games in his third straight season as one of the team’s assistant captains. His numbers allowed him to move into third place on the team’s all-time assist list with 221. He also took over fourth in team history with 356 points and seventh in goals with 137. In Knighthawks’ playoff history, he ranks second in goals (28) and third in points (43). His offensive production and ability to get to the net should help Rochester generate more opportunities.
“He is a great player who knows what our offense does and how important chemistry is. He can step right in and be the same type of player he was last year,” said Knighthawks Assistant Captain Cody Jamieson. “He was a clutch performer who got us the big goal when we needed it, and said something when it needed to be said.”
“It’s a great thing to have his leadership and his inside off ball game will be an asset,” added Assistant Coach Paul Day. “There is no one in better shape right now, and he is in the best shape of his career.”
In his NLL career, Accursi has played for teams in Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse, Ontario and Edmonton. In 16 seasons, he scored 386 goals, while adding 435 assists for 821 points in 233 games. In the postseason, he has been even more impressive. Accursi ranks third in the NLL in goals (58), fourth in games played (26) and fifth in points (99).
He won his first two Champion’s Cups in back-to-back seasons, winning in 2007 with the Knighthawks and in 2008 with the Buffalo Bandits. He repeated that feat in 2013, as he helped Rochester win back-to-back titles for the first time in team history.
On Saturday, Accursi will return to the turf with another chance to wear the teal and purple.
“I am going to enjoy every minute of it. That’s the way you have to approach it,” he said. “I am going to enjoy the team and the guys. It’s what I’ve loved to do for 16 years. It’s like I never left.”
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