On February 2, the Rochester Knighthawks retired the team’s first player number in the rafters of the Blue Cross Arena. Who was it? None other than the GOAT himself, John Grant Jr.
John, who was originally drafted to the Buffalo Bandits in 1995 in the MILL, but chose to attend college instead for the University of Delaware, would then re-enter the now NLL draft in 1999 when the Rochester Knighthawks would draft him first overall.
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John Grant, Jr. spent 10 seasons with Rochester putting up BIG numbers for the club and showing why the team went with him at the No. 1 spot. He would also snag the Rookie of the Year in 2000, and then most importantly, would win the Champions Cup as well as be named the MVP of the game.
Let’s look at his numbers with the Hawks:
Grant holds the franchise record of most goals (433) and total points (894). He has a team high of 54 goals, 60 assists and a total of 111 points in a single season. He leads statistical categories in the playoffs as well, for most goals (47) and points (82).
In his championship run in 2007, Junior would set a record at the time of the most points in a game (15). Grant score 9 goals and assist on 6 in a win over the New York Titans. He was named the MVP of that season as well.
Grant would only miss one season with the club, which was in 2009. He would face an emergency knee surgery that almost cost him his career due to an infection. But, Junior couldn’t be sidelined, as he would miss the season but would return true to form for the 2010 season. He would dress in 15 games scoring 39 times and helping on 44. The team did not make the playoffs that season.
John would finish his Rochester run with 140 regular season games and 14 playoff games. He also tallied 433 total regular season goals and 47 in the playoffs, along 461 assists in the regular season with another 35 in the playoffs.
During the offseason in 2010, the Knighthawks would trade Grant to the Colorado Mammoth with Mac Allen for goalie Matt Vinc and transition players Matt Zash and Brad Self.
Junior was known in Rochester for his unforgettable shots that almost always found a way to go in. I specifically remember him scoring a one-handed shot, underhand and behind his legs! The entire arena jumped and was shaking at the foundation. He was always ‘that’ kind of player; when he had the ball you were on the edge of your seat! And when the game was on the line you 100% put the ball in his stick and let him do his thing, because he always found a way to do it.
Off the turf Junior was an amazing man and was always reachable in and around Rochester for anything. He was always approachable and always professional. He took pride in representing the city of Rochester and was always a fan favorite. When the fans heard that his number would be retired and sent to the rafters they were very excited and overjoyed for him.
Congrats to John Grant, Jr. on an honor truly deserved!