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Knighthawks Sign Defenseman Jake Crans

August 10, 2018 - National Lacrosse League (NLL) - Rochester Knighthawks News Release

The Rochester Knighthawks have announced that they have signed Jake Crans to a one-year deal. It marks the second time in his career that he has been picked up by the Knighthawks.

"Any opportunity to still play is awesome," said Crans, who last signed in Rochester in 2015. "That is the reason why I continue to play."

The 6-2, 205-pound defenseman is the second member of the Brampton Excelsiors to agree to a free agent deal with the Knighthawks this week, joining forward Mike Burke. This summer, the Caledonia, Ontario native played in 14 Major Series Lacrosse games with Brampton and chipped in three points.

"He just needs an opportunity, and this is a good one for him," said Knighthawks Owner and General Manager Curt Styres. "He is noticeably faster and stronger, and that is the direction the league is going in right now. I have high expectations of him."

Crans enters the third NLL camp of his career, having previously trained with the Colorado Mammoth and the Knighthawks.

"He's had a couple of tryouts before and you can tell the experience is there," said Knighthawks assistant coach Jason Johnson. "I got to watch him play a couple of games this year, and the biggest thing I've seen is that he is faster and stronger."

Playing on a younger team in Brampton gave the 27-year-old Crans an opportunity to take on a leadership role and allowed him to get noticed again by NLL teams.

"Going to Brampton gave me the opportunity to play the whole season," he said. "It makes you feel more comfortable playing every night. You play against teams like the (Six Nations) Chiefs, Peterborough and Brooklin, and they have everyday NLL guys (on their rosters). The opportunity to compete against those guys every night makes you feel more confident in yourself."

Prior to going to the Excesliors, Crans was a member of the Six Nations Chiefs for four seasons. From 2014-17, he played in 12 regular season contests and was mentored by some of the greatest defensive players in the game.

"Playing with the Chiefs is not an opportunity that many people get," said Crans. "I was playing with guys like Sid (Smith), Dan Coates, Billy Dee (Smith), Rob Marshall and Pat Merrill. It was an incredible lineup of guys."

During his inaugural season with the Chiefs, he won the Mann Cup, which was his third title in four seasons. The defenseman added his final championship in 2015, winning the President's Cup with the Senior "B" Six Nations Rivermen.

That season, he appeared in 16 games and recorded 12 points (3+9). In four seasons with the Rivermen, he helped his team win a pair of Ontario Senior "B" championships (2014-15). In 53 regular season games, he collected 36 points (13+23) while picking up 18 points (10+8) in 35 postseason contests.

Crans first began his slew of titles with the Junior "B" Six Nations Rebels, where he captured back-to-back Founders' Cups (2011-12). He parlayed that success into a stellar career at Western University. In 2014, he completed his four-year Canadian University lacrosse stint with the Mustangs.

In 2014, Crans also began a four-year stint in pro lacrosse in Canada, with three of those seasons coming with the Southwest Cyclops of the Canadian Lacrosse League (CLax). In 2016, he was named a Second Team All-Star after notching five points in 10 games. In 2017, the defenseman played with the Six Nations Snipers of the Arena Lacrosse League (ALL). It was with the Snipers that Crans played for Knighthawks President of Lacrosse Operations Jake Henhawk, who was the general manager of the Six Nations team.

"He has a high work ethic and a good lacrosse IQ," said Henhawk. "Playing a full year of Senior 'A' helped his confidence and development. Teams love him because he will do whatever you ask of him."

Even before attending Rookie Camp with Rochester in 2015, Crans already had ties to the Knighthawks. It was Jason Johnson who first convinced Crans, who was a hockey player, to play lacrosse at Caledonia High School.

"I never really played until high school," said Crans. "Jason was coaching the field lacrosse team and asked me to come out because they needed guys. He was the first coach who taught me a lot about the game. It all started from there."

"I just gave him an opportunity," said Johnson. "The kid wanted to learn and wanted to play. The rest was up to him."

In October, Jake and Jason will get reacquainted when Rochester opens its training camp before the start of the 2018-19 season.

"I can talk to Jason, and he can let me know the expectations," said Crans. "It gives you a little more confidence knowing some of the guys before you get there."

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