Aug 18, 2016

Maracle and Rae.jpg(August 18, 2016)… The Rochester Knighthawks have signed a pair of players to one-year deals prior to the start of the 2017 National Lacrosse League season. The Knighthawks announced today that they have re-signed forward Joe “Haodais” Maracle and agreed to terms with free agent defenseman John Rae.

“I am very pleased to be back with the Knighthawks,” said Maracle. “It’s a great organization, from the coaching staff all the way up to the management team and players. We have a great group of guys. I can't wait for the start of Training Camp.”

[JoeMaracle] Maracle returns for his second season in Rochester after being acquired on March 29th from the Georgia Swarm. The 21-year-old was originally selected by the Swarm in the second round (10th overall) of the 2014 NLL Entry Draft. In his career, the Hamilton, Ontario native has played in three games and notched three goals and one assist. His best game as a pro came against Rochester, as he scored two goals for Minnesota on May 2, 2015. One season later, he was in a Knighthawks uniform.

“I enjoyed the short time I was with the team last season,” he said. “It felt more like a family than anything.”

Before making the jump to the pros, Maracle won four titles at the junior level. In 2015, he was a member of the Six Nations Arrows and won his second straight Minto Cup. He spent three seasons with the Arrows and produced 57 goals and 72 assists in 46 games. He also won two championships with the Junior “B” Six Nations Rebels, hoisting the Founders Cup in 2011 and 2012. Having experienced success in the past, Maracle has been working hard this summer to make an impact at the pro level.

“The improvements I have been working on are getting my confidence back up to par and working on a little bit of everything,” he said. “I will do whatever the team needs/wants out of me.”

[1297396093819_ORIGINAL] Rae is also a player willing to take on any role for the good of the team. He will bring size, speed and grittiness to the Knighthawks. Those attributes are what attracted Knighthawks Owner and General Manager Curt Styres to the 26-year-old Barrie, Ontario native.

“My speed and footwork are what Curt said he was impressed with the most for a guy with my size,” he said. “I can stay with guys who are more agile than me and crosscheck them with strength behind it.”

The 6-foot-2, 225-pound defenseman will also showcase his determination as he tries to crack an NLL lineup for the first time in his career. Originally drafted by Colorado 42nd overall in the 2010 NLL Entry Draft, Rae has attended camps with the Mammoth and the Vancouver Stealth. In November, he will get another chance to impress an NLL coaching staff.

“I am still in good shape,” he said. “I will get in a little bit better shape in the next couple of months and take another run at it.”

Rae played his junior ball in Barrie from 2007-08 and in 2010. During his career, he played in 40 games and collected six goals and six assists. It was following his Junior “A” season in 2010 that he was selected in the NLL Draft by Colorado. He admitted that a lot has changed since draft day. Rae, who has since finished his education, is now focused on completing another dream – playing in the NLL.

“I looked forward to it, I trained hard and when I went out there I fell in love with the experience. I kept trying to get better and better,” he said. “Hopefully, my playing experience the past six years will help me out (this time).”

Rae knows the team he is joining is full of veteran defensemen who have distinguished themselves at every level of lacrosse. To make an impact at camp, he will continue to workout in Barrie with his Life Fitness Academy trainer, Jason Barber, who has Olympic and professional athletes on his client list. Hitting the weights and keeping a stick in his hands, he said, will give him his best shot of making the team.

“We’ll get to see each other every day until Training Camp starts,” said Rae. “I hope to bring a fast, agile pace to the game.”

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