NORFOLK, Va. – At the start of every new hockey season, there are new faces to get accustomed to. One of the new faces on the Norfolk Admirals roster this year is 26-year-old forward, Chris Crane.
The right-handed shooter signed with the Norfolk Admirals this summer. Inking the deal with Norfolk meant bringing Crane back to the area where he first learned how to skate at the local rinks.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve lived at home. It’s going to be really nice to have my Mom’s home cooking and have the family at the games for support. I’m excited,” said Crane who resides in the Sandbridge/Pungo area of Virginia Beach.
Signing Crane also meant getting the chance to play with former college teammate from Ohio State, Darik Angeli, who had some influence on bringing Crane back home. “This summer he was looking for a place to play and he’s from here. I said ‘Norfolk’s a good home.’ I signed in Tucson so it could be a fun little reunion.” noted Angeli.
Home cooking aside, Crane admits one of the main reasons he signed was because of his chemistry with Angeli.
“That was one of the reasons why I signed here,” Crane said. “We really played well and put up a lot of numbers in Orlando together. He’s going to play on my right and we’re going to play together. We’re familiar with each other and good buddies.”
The 2010 seventh-round draft pick of the San Jose Sharks also brings two ECHL championship rings to Norfolk via the Allen Americans, capturing them in 2015 and 2016. Crane had this to say about his back-to-back wins.
“Anytime you win a championship, it’s something that we build towards from training camp and throughout the whole season,” Crane remarked. “Winning that game is something special and to be able to do it back-to-back two years in a row is something I’ll never forget.”
With two ECHL titles to his credit and with 241 games played in the ECHL, Crane will be thrust into a leadership role this year with Norfolk.
“I’m coming into a leadership role, getting a little older in my career. I’m trying to teach these younger guys. The more the team has success and the more games we win then the locker room won’t change as much. If we start the year not so hot in the first ten games, Robbie’s going to be forced to make changes. Team success is a big thing for me,” said Crane.
In hockey, leaders often fall in two categories, vocal or lead by example, Crane says he’s a hybrid of the two. “I would say both. I’m not going to be vocal about something I won’t personally do on the ice. I like to keep the guys positive on the bench and in the room and while hanging out outside the rink. Obviously, I’m going to go out and do my thing when it comes time to do it.”
Assistant Coach, Peter Sidorkiewicz chatted about what he’s seen from Crane so far. “He’s really poised with the puck. He’s going to be an offensive catalyst for us. He’s going to be playing with some pretty good players and hopefully, they can be a top line at this level.”
On opening night versus the Wheeling Nailers, Crane was one of three skaters gifted with “A’s” from Head Coach Robbie Ftorek for the 30th season of Admirals hockey in Hampton Roads. Given his winning pedigree, positivity on and off the ice, Crane could possibly see that “A” turn into a “C” as the season progresses.