With the season opener at the Times Union Center less than a month away, the Albany Empire has signed its first two players. The Arena Football League free agent signing period opened Monday morning and the Empire reeled in two Capital Region products.

Wade Hansen and Jordan Canzeri are friends from childhood and on Monday, the Tamarac and Troy High grads signed with the Empire the way they grew up playing football, together.

Canzeri was a star running back at Iowa and Hansen’s collegiate career started at RPI before transferring to Virginia Tech. Canzeri will bring speed and shiftiness from a running back, receiving and kick returning perspective. Hansen, will fill a spot along the offensive line, which is not the conventional set up we’re accustomed to seeing in the NFL or college football.

The season opener for the Empire is Saturday, April 14 against the defending champion Philadelphia Soul.