Reality is finally setting in for Port Perry’s Graeme Hossack after the Rochester Knighthawks selected him with the second overall choice in last week’s National Lacrosse League Entry Draft.
The 23-year-old was the top-rated defender in the draft after past exceptional seasons in Major Series Lacrosse. with the Brooklin Redmen during the past two summers.
“It finally started to sink in a few days later,” Hossack told The Standard. “I’ll think about how I looked up to the players in the NLL when I was younger and how much I wanted to be one when I was older and I’ll think about how lucky I am to be a part of it and catch myself smiling really wide.”
Although he was the highest rated defender coming into the draft, there was still uncertainty until he heard his name called.
“I wasn’t sure how high I would go, and I was definitely nervous going in,” explained Hossack. “It was a great relief when my name was called second, because it felt like forever.”
Hossack is currently wrapping up a degree in biology, with a minor in chemistry at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri, where he has left an impressive legacy on the lacrosse field.
Last year, Hossack concluded his senior season by becoming the first player in school history to be selected as a First Team All-American. He also earned ECAC Specialist of the Year honors in 2014 and 2015. Hossack was named First Team All-ECAC three times (2013-15), and was named Team MVP in 2013 and 2014. He concluded his four-year college career with 33 goals, 18 assists, 51 points, 452 ground balls and 145 caused turnovers.
In addition, he has spent the past two summers with the Brooklin Redmen, which he says was an excellent apprenticeship for the competition he expects to face in January, when the NLL season gets underway. Previously, Hossack honed his skills in the junior ranks with the Whitby Warriors and Clarington Green Gaels after a minor lacrosse career that began in Whitby at age 5.
“I really feel like these past two summers with Brooklin have been the best way to prepare myself for the next level since a lot of guys play in both leagues” added Hossack. “The NLL is faster and there are much bigger crowds, but it’s as close as you can get.”
With many players in the NLL juggling careers away from lacrosse, Hossack anticipates a busy December shuttling between his studies at Lindenwood and Knighthawks training camp in Rochester will help to prepare him for the demands that come with a professional lacrosse career.
“There will be a few overlap weeks when I’m still in school and at training camp,” explained Hossack. “It will be a good lead-in to the routine that a lot of guys go through and being able to find the balance between school and staying on top of my game.”
The Knighthawks used their first four picks, and five of their six selections, to take defensemen in the 2015 Draft. Head coach Mike Hasen expects for Hossack to have an immediate impact with the team.
“First and foremost, he is going to fit in really well with these guys,” Hasen said in a press release. “He is a great player already. He is tough and plays his position well.”
When speaking with The Standard, Hossack noted that he was thrilled to be taken by a team with the prestige of the Knighthawks.
“I’m really excited to be picked by Rochester. They are a great team and have won three of the past four championships. It’s a challenge I’m looking forward to, being able to contribute to such a successful team. It’s a great atmosphere, and the arena is always packed with the most passionate fans in the league.”
He won’t have to look far for support, as his younger brother Matt is heading into his senior season of lacrosse at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
“That’s probably the most exciting part, is having both of us playing so close together. We’ve always tried to go to as many of each other’s games as we can, and it’s amazing that we’ll be able to hopefully see each other a lot this year.”
The oldest of three brothers, Hossack explained that his success has only been possible through the sacrifices made by his parents, Brad and Jocelyn.
“They played a huge role in all of our development as athletes. A lot of nights, they’d be driving everywhere trying to get three kids to three different practices, and wouldn’t even have time to eat. It’s their dedication to us following our dreams that has really driven me to succeed.”