By: Kyle Watson
Being a rookie in the Ontario Hockey League can be nerve-racking. You go from playing with your age level your whole career to playing amongst guys four years older than you. There is a pressure to prove yourself, to impress your coaches and teammates, and for many guys, it’s the first time they leave home.
Brody Crane won’t have to worry about one of those things.
The Knights fourth round selection moved to Buffalo at the age of 13 to join the Jr. Sabres program. For the last three years, he has played his hockey across the border and lived with a billet family. Last year, he lived with a player on the U12 team.
Brody is originally from St. Thomas, and grew up playing for the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs. In his minor bantam year, he decided to join the program in Buffalo, which is led by former NHLers. He says his father, Derrick, helped him decide to make the switch.
Derrick Crane played three years for the Knights, between 1990 and 1993. Injuries prevented him from continuing his career beyond the OHL, but he’s still involved in the sport through his son. He coached him up until he left home three years ago.
“He likes to say he was better, but I disagree,” Brody said of his dad. “He was more of a fighter. I like to score goals and make plays.”
Should the 2020-21 OHL season commence, Brody will be reunited with an old friend. Him and fellow 2020 selection Isaiah George played together at the famous Brick Tournament at West Edmonton Mall in 2014, as well as at the World Selects Invitational in 2016.
Like George, Brody joined his teammates Ben Bujold, Colton Smith, Jackson Edward and Landon Sim at the Hockey Canada U17 Virtual Camp this summer. Although he didn’t get to meet his compatriots in person, joining the Program of Excellence was still a milestone experience for Brody.
“Learning the Canadian way is the main goal of it,” he said. “That was pretty special.”
He also joined fellow Londoners and future rivals Brett Harrison, Hunter Haight and Bryce McConnell-Barker, who trained with Total Package Hockey this summer. TPH is run by Knights Skills and Power Skating Coach Dwayne Blais.
Brody Crane is a player known for his exceptional offensive ability. He describes himself as a fast, highly-skilled player who doesn’t shy away from the physical side of the game. When he gets to introduce himself to Knights fans, they will be in for a show.