ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- The owner of the Rochester Knighthawks is leaving to start an National Lacrosse League expansion franchise in Canada – but that doesn't mean professional indoor lacrosse is leaving the Flower City.
Pegula Sports Entertainment, owners of owners of the Bills, Sabres and Bandits franchises in Buffalo (of the NFL, NHL and NLL, respectively) was awarded an NLL expansion team for Rochester.
In a letter sent out Thursday morning, current Knighthawks owner, Curt Styres, said he was awarded a new team and will leave for Halifax, Nova Scotia at the conclusion of the upcoming 2018-2019 season. A news release from the league stated many Knighthawk players will go along with him.
Styres finished the letter with, "For NLL fans of the Rochester community, it was very important for my family and I to make sure that your Rochester franchise would be well looked after."
“Sports teams are part of the community and there are two great owners that recognize that and live by that standard every single day, which is what we as the National Lacrosse League, the city of Rochester, we all aspire to that going forward," said NLL COO Dave Rowan.
Kim Pegula, from nearby Fairport, said she spent a lot of time in Rochester, watching her brother play hockey.
"My parents took me here for hockey games for to have it still standing here and to be able to reinvest it and to have the different generations grow up with it, we are super excited about that," she said.
Styres took over ownership of the Knighthawks 10 years ago. In his decade-long tenure as owner, the franchise won three championships in a row from 2012-2014 and made it to a fourth finals this past season.
At the same time, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren announced an $18 million investment into the Blue Cross Arena as part of the Roc the Riverway project.
"This expansion will take place on Exchange Street side of the area and will include a new locker room, offices and more concession space to optimize the fan experience," she said.
The new work will also include a four-sided major league scorboard.