The Rochester Knighthawks announced today that the team has signed James Barclay to a one-year deal. The defenseman was the Knighthawks’ first-round selection (ninth overall) in the 2018 National Lacrosse League Entry Draft.
“I am glad to get everything signed and everything in order,” he said. “Now, I can just go to camp this weekend, have a good camp and meet my new teammates.”
Selecting the talented defender was a product of years of scouting and collaboration, according to Knighthawks Owner and General Manager Curt Styres.
“It was a group effort led by Jeremy (Henhawk) and Stu (Brown),” he said. Henhawk serves as the team’s President of Lacrosse Operations, while Brown is the head scout.
“I have followed him since he was close to 12 or 13 years old,” said Henhawk. “Now that he is almost twice that age, he’s finally to the pro level. He has great character and is a good team guy. He has excellent leadership qualities and is a future captain in this league.”
Barclay arrives in Rochester after playing four seasons of collegiate lacrosse at Providence College. He was an integral member of the Friars’ defensive unit, appearing in 62 games and collecting three assists and 112 ground balls while causing 56 turnovers. The Toronto, Ontario, native played a significant role in the Friars’ 2017 BIG EAST Championship run, where the team made program history with its second-consecutive BIG EAST Tournament appearance and first BIG EAST Championship game appearance.
“James is ready to step in and play right now,” said Brown. “We have watched him play a lot the last two MSL seasons, and he’s proven he can play against men. He’s a competitor and a natural leader, and a great teammate. James fits everything that is important to our organization, which is why we had no hesitation taking him with the ninth pick in the draft.”
In his Junior “A” lacrosse career, Barclay played one season with the Toronto Beaches and two with the Mimico Mountaineers. Over his three seasons, he posted 12 goals and 27 assists in 48 regular season games. For the past two summers, the tenacious defender has played with the Oakville Rock of Major Series Lacrosse. Barclay logged time in 32 games and chipped in 13 points (3+10). In 2018, the 23-year-old was a member of the Rock team that advanced to its first MSL Finals.
“He is a gritty, young and athletic defender,” said Knighthawks assistant coach Mike Accursi, who coached Barclay in Oakville. “He’s an aggressive guy who people hate playing against, and we need to have a player like that on our team. He’s a good team guy and fits into the culture we are trying to keep in Rochester.”
Today, Barclay will have his first chance to practice with his new team on Day One of training camp. It will be a dream come true to finally start his professional career.
“It’s something I have been looking forward to for a really long time,” he said. “It’s a relief that it’s finally here, but I know the hard work’s just beginning. I am trying to get into camp, put in some work and get started.”