California Redwoods sign defenders Holden Garlent and Chris Fake

By Jerome Taylor | Mar 6, 2024

California Redwoods fans can take a collective deep breath as the ‘Woods have announced the signings of defenders Holden Garlent and Chris Fake.

The start of free agency has been challenging for the Redwoods and their fans as some longtime ‘Woods opted to don new uniforms next season.

Free agency opened with four players being plucked from the Redwoods roster. First, Tim Troutner signed with Atlas, followed by Jules Heningburg and Sergio Perkovic joining Chaos. The most pivotal blow came later when the Cannons signed 2023 Dave Pietramala Defensive Player of the Year Garrett Epple.

All four have been Redwoods since the inaugural season of the Premier Lacrosse League, so their departure signals that there is a new era of Redwoods lacrosse beginning.  

Epple, who has been a staple on the Redwoods’ defense, leaves the biggest hole on the team. As a four-time first-team all-pro, three-time all-star, and the reigning defensive player of the year, his presence as a close defender will be missed. 

New Branches on the Redwoods: Chris Fake and Holden Garlent 

But as the saying goes, “As one door closes…” another defender out there can close the door on opposing attackmen. 

Well, that’s what the ‘Woods’ are hoping for with their signings of Fake and Garlent, along with a further infusion of youth into the locker room. 

“We were at this point with a lot of guys on our team who were in years 8 and 9 of their careers,” Redwoods General Manager and Head Coach Nat St. Laurent said. “We were talking last year about making some changes and getting a little bit younger at some places.”

Garlent last played in the PLL in 2022 with the Cannons, where he caused nine turnovers and scooped up 23 ground balls. 

As for Fake, he was drafted in the third round by the Philadelphia Waterdogs but only appeared in one game, making him an eligible free agent under the 30% rule (if a player is not on his club’s active roster for 30% or more of eligible games he can opt into free agency). 

Prior to that, he was a multi-time all-conference, all-American, and national champion at Yale and Notre Dame. During his graduate year with the Fighting Irish, he showed just how good he could be as a cover man, locking up Jack Myers, Tucker Dordevic, and projected 2024 number-one pick Brennan O’Neill (twice). 

Now, he’ll be reuniting with Brian Tevlin, with whom he won two national championships in college. 

He and Garlent will be a part of the new-look Redwoods defense, joining two former first-round picks Owen Grant and Arden Cohen, not to mention Ryan Kennedy, who re-signed earlier this offseason. 

“We got to find the balance: a guy who can cover, guys who are going to fly around the field, ball handling, good sticks,” St. Laurent said about constructing the defense. “I think Owen Grant is going to be the next Michael Ehrhardt, I think he's going to be that good, I think we started seeing that last year.”

“Arden Cohen took a big step forward down the stretch, Ryan Kennedy re-signed and he was a gem… some of the takeaways that he had at the end of the year in that Chaos game were huge for us. So we just need to continue to build around that.”

The Woods now await Eddy Glazener and John Sexton’s decision about what their full defense will look like come training camp. In a free agency already filled with surprises, this free agent tracker will keep you informed of their decision and every other move this offseason.