KNIGHTHAWKS SIGN GOALIE CRAIG WENDEOct 31, 2017
(October 31, 2017)… The Rochester Knighthawks announced today that they have signed goalie Craig Wende (pronounced Wendy) to a one-year deal. Wende will join the team this week, as Rochester opens training camp Nov. 3-4 in Six Nations.
“Craig is coming off a strong summer playing Senior ‘B’ in Oakville,” said Knighthawks head scout Stuart Brown. “We thought it was a good time to give him an opportunity to come in and show us what he’s got.”
In 2017, Wende was one of the top goalies in the Ontario Senior “B” Lacrosse League. With the Oakville Titans, he led the league in wins (eight) and was third in goals-against average (6.46). In the postseason, he carried an 8.68 goals-against average.
This summer, the 26-year-old was also a standout in the Arena Lacrosse League (ALL). The 6-foot, 218-pound netminder backstopped the Toronto Monarchs to an appearance in the ALL Championship Game. During the playoff run, he was 2-1 with a 10.67 goals-against average.
In July, Wende played internationally and was the starting goalie for Germany at the 2017 European Box Lacrosse Championships. Craig, whose father was born in Schweinfurt, Germany, led the 14-team tournament in saves (262) and was named a First Team All-Star. Wende’s stellar play helped the Germans reach the bronze medal game.
After having another solid year between the pipes, Wende signed with the Knighthawks.
“It’s an exciting experience,” he said. “I can’t wait for training camp to start.”
Wende brings with him impressive credentials, as he joins Matt Vinc and Angus Goodleaf in Rochester’s camp. In 2016, Wende was named the Ontario Senior “B” Lacrosse League’s Most Valuable Player after logging 802 minutes and recording a 9.27 goals-against average with Oakville. Over the past five seasons, he has appeared in 43 games with the Titans.
“The organization there is run really well,” said Wende. “They have given me a lot of floor time and let me develop as a goalie.”
The Kitchener, Ontario native also made stops in Major Series Lacrosse. For three of his four seasons (2013-15), he was a member of the Oakville Rock. In 2012, he made his Senior “A” debut with the Brampton Excelsiors, who were coached by current Knighthawks head coach Mike Hasen.
Before making the move to senior ball, Wende played four seasons of Junior “A” lacrosse. From 2009-11, he appeared in 58 games and posted 22 wins, a .782 save percentage and a 9.77 goals-against average. Wende spent his first three seasons with the Kitchener-Waterloo Braves before going to the Burlington Chiefs for the 2012 campaign. That season, he played 741 minutes and posted a goals-against average of 10.20.
In 2012, Wende tried out for his first NLL team as he attended the Vancouver Stealth’s open tryouts. The following year, after taking part in the NLL Combine, he competed for a spot in camp with the Toronto Rock.
Four years later, he is back at an NLL training camp. This time it’s with the Rochester Knighthawks. Now a more seasoned goalie, Wende is determined to use his prior camp experience to his advantage.
“It took me a couple of years to develop into the goalie I am now,” he said. “I think having a couple of those years to find my stride is really helping me in the long run."