The highly-touted duo out of the University of North Dakota are expected join Senators’ practice at the end of this week once their quarantine concludes.
However, two weeks prior the team made another significant signing. University of New Hampshire forward Angus Crookshank inked a three-year, entry-level deal March 17. With his contract slated to commence only next season, the 21-year old signed an amateur tryout agreement with Belleville for the remainder of this season.
Selected by the Senators in the 2018 Entry Draft (126th overall) while playing for Langley in the British Columbia Hockey League, Crookshank left UNH after completing three seasons.
Known for his offensive prowess, the left wing tied for tops on his team with nine goals this past season and led UNH with 16 markers in 2019-20. Crookshank also notched two overtime goals which tied him for the lead in all of the NCAA. His four goals in extra time during the past three collegiate campaigns were more than any player.
The five-foot-eleven, 181-pound forward tallied 35 goals, 28 assists in 90 collegiate games.
Like Bernard-Docker and Pinto who spoke recently on how difficult it was to leave their alma maters, Crookshank’s experience is no different.
“Incredibly hard,” Crookshank told Full Press Hockey. “I can’t say enough good things about it (UNH). It’s pretty much my most influential years of my hockey career. I made unbelievable relationships with my teammates. Those are guys who are going to my groomsman at my wedding sort of thing. I’ve made relationships that are going to last a lifetime. Taking the next step is certainly tough, but I have to take a look at it selfishly. In my opinion I thought it was the right decision for my career.”
The North Vancouver, BC native values his education and remains a full-time student majoring in Political Science and Justice Studies. The cerebral Crookshank used a portion of his 14-day quarantine to continue studying for classes as well as attending virtual meetings, breaking down video with Belleville Senators coaches.
“I’m still a full-time student, so I can kind of work ahead on my classes and keep mind on things. The coaches are great in setting up meetings, going over systems. I watched AHLTV to see what the pro game looked like. I kind of planned it out that I have to take one more class in my major to graduate. From there I just have to take some electives (this summer). It allows me to finish my degree at UNH, which is important to me.”
The UNH Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Vice-President made his American League debut Saturday in the BSens convincing 7-2 win in Toronto.
Crookshank picked up the primary assist to help Egor Sokolov complete his hat trick. The youngster popped two shots on goal and was a plus-one.
🚨🚨🚨Egoro Sokolov hat trick alert!
— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) April 3, 2021
Belleville head coach Troy Mann was impressed with Crookshank’s game, especially after being out of quarantine only a few a days.
“I thought it was a good start. There’s some systematic things that he can work on. But overall, he was tenacious on the puck. He’s got good vision. He’s known for his offense. We wanted to put him in a position to succeed, so we put him on the power play. He’s played in front or in the bumper his whole career at UNH, so we wanted to get him on one of the power play units. I think it’s a good start for him. He almost scored in the third. Once he gets a little more detailed with how we want to play. I think he’s going to be a real good player for us. Anytime a player spends 14 days in quarantine and gets to practice only a few days, there’s going to be some rust, but a nice start for sure,” Mann explained.
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Crookshank himself described it as “a marathon, not a sprint.”
“I think the adjustment period is ongoing. I find it hard to believe anyone can make that adjustment in one game. The pace is definitely quicker. The guys have made me feel welcome, kind of helped me adjust. I’m grateful for that. All I can do is try to improve every day and try to get better.”
A fan of the Vancouver Canucks “West Coast Express era,” Crookshank was a “big fan” of Markus Naslund growing up – “His kind of aura on the ice is something I wanted to be.”
If Crookshank can eventually perform remotely close to the level of the Canucks’ former captain, the Senators will have struck gold with another late-round draft selection.