Bandits Sign Salamanca Native Brown To Extension
Frank Brown grew up attending Buffalo Bandits games.
Now he’s playing in them.
It’s a dream come true for the Salamanca native.
Brown signed a two-year contract with the National Lacrosse Team on Friday, just months after he was traded to the organization.
“It’s been in the works for the past couple of weeks,” Brown said Friday afternoon. “I knew my contract was up and I knew they wanted to re-sign me so I knew it was coming.”
Playing for the Bandits was always the goal for the Silver Creek graduate, who finished his Black Knights career with 317 points and was a two-time All-Western New York selection.
After high school, Brown played at Hobart College in Geneva where he was a two-time William H. Dobbin Memorial Award winner as the team’s best offensive player. As a senior captain, Brown was the Northeast Conference’s Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year while being named a United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association All-American honorable-mention selection.
Brown parlayed his collegiate career into multiple professional opportunities while also representing the Iroquois Nationals in international competitions.
During the summer of 2018, Brown made his Major League Lacrosse debut for the Ohio Machine and later that year was drafted by the Georgia Swarm of the NLL where he joined high school teammate Zed Williams.
A knee injury cut short his indoor season with the Swarm and kept him off the field during the summer of 2019. He was then taken by the Philadelphia Wings in the 2019 NLL Expansion Draft after being left unprotected by the Swarm.
After signing a one-year deal with the Rochester Knighthawks last season, Brown was traded to Buffalo on Feb. 27. After just two games with the team he dreamed of playing for as a child, the NLL season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Last season was a trainwreck for me. In Philadelphia two seasons ago, I hurt my knee during the season. I didn’t really need surgery to keep playing so I kept playing and after the season was up, I had the knee operated on,” Brown said. “Then I came over to Rochester and I was still recovering from my knee so I didn’t play the first four games. Just as I introduced myself to the group, I played three games and they traded me to Buffalo.”
“It was a hurricane to say the least,” he added.
In his younger days, Brown would watch NLL Hall of Famer John Tavares play for the Bandits. Now the league’s all-time leading scorer and native of Toronto is Brown’s coach.
“I played in the summer for him up in Canada, so he doesn’t necessarily have that aura when he walks in the room anymore,” Brown said, “but there’s a reason why he’s as great as he is. It’s not all about how talented he is. He’s diligent, he’s professional and he holds everyone accountable.”
This summer, to prepare for the upcoming NLL season, Brown was added to the roster of the Boston Cannons of the MLL. In four games for the Cannons, Brown scored four goals and picked up two groundballs during the team’s abbreviated march to the league championship.
“We had a great group with the Cannons. They had a lot of guys I’ve played with before. A lot of us understood each other’s games,” Brown said. “We struggled during the first part of the week, but as time went on we started clicking and figured it out.”
Now he’s back home gearing up for what he hopes will be his first full season of many for his hometown Bandits.
“My day to day really hasn’t changed too much,” Brown said about being part of a team closer to home. “It’s a lot of exercise, maintenance and physical reps, the only difference is I get to see my family a lot more, which is really great.”
Now he hopes he can be the role model that was hard to find when he was a child.
“I grew up watching a lot of guys I looked up to give up on their dreams. I know how it feels to be let down by somebody you look up to,” Brown said. “My purpose for why I play … is to show kids from where I’m from that ‘Hey, you can do it.’
“I was never the best player on the field but I just worked. Every day I understood was an opportunity to get better,” Brown added. “You chip away long enough and next thing you know you pick up your head and you are where you want to be.”