Starting next season, the surname Craighead will once again decorate the back of a B.C. Hockey League sweater.
Last week, the Langley Rivermen added Darien Craighead to their 2013/14 roster.
The 15-year-old forward currently plays for the Valley West Hawks of the BC Major Midget League, and has scored 16 goals and added 12 assists in 31 games to date.
Craighead is a second generation BCHLer.
His dad John played over 600 games in pro hockey spanning from the American Hockey League, East Coast Hockey League, and in the European leagues. John played five games at the NHL level, with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1996/97, and a handful of exhibition games for the Vancouver Canucks in the fall of 2002.
The elder Craighead's hockey career got started in the then B.C. Junior Hockey League with the New Westminster Royals back in 1990/91.
In 1991/92, John was also part of a fearsome Chilliwack Chiefs team, coached by Eddy Beers, that included Jag Bal, Gunnar Henrikson, Wayne Anchikoski, Clint Black, and Jeff Hokinson
As a Chief and throughout his career, John played a rugged, ferocious style.
He was also a skilled and prolific fighter.
s His son, tall for P his age and lanky at 5'10" and 145 pounds, plays a different style of game.
"The only similarity is their passion for the game," Rivermen head coach and general manager Bobby Henderson said. "Darien is very much a finesse player and his learning curve is big because he's such a young kid in the league."
Craighead practised with the Rivermen a couple of times this year and said being around that type of environment was "really neat."
"It has always been a dream of mine to play for Langley," he said.
Asked to describe the kind of player he is, Craighead said he's a playmaker, although this year for the first time in a while he has more goals than assists.
"I think I can see the ice fairly well out there and can shoot the puck pretty good for the most part," Craighead said. "For me I am used to putting up assists, but this year has been different and the puck has been going in more."
Henderson said the 'Men have been pretty close with the Craighead family for years, which has given him the opportunity to see Darien play.
"He has put in a lot of hard work in the last couple of years and we believe he is on the right track of becoming an elite player," Henderson said.
As a 16-year-old rookie, Craighead knows he'll have to earn ice time next season.
"I want to work myself onto a regular shift and be a part of the team and what not," he said.
His dad was and still is a big influence, Darien added: "He taught me everything I know."
Henderson said you can tell that Darien has had great coaching and guidance from his father.
"Just by talking to him you notice right away he is willing to learn and is a student of the game," Henderson said.
As for aspirations in a Rivermen uniform, Craighead had more than just one thing in mind.
"I hope to win a couple of championships first and foremost, but if I can get an NCAA scholarship out of it, as well, that would be nice, too."
Comparing today's BCHL to the era of the early 1990s, John said, "I think the game's changed a lot. The league's gotten a lot cleaner. There's way more talent.
The leading goal scorers in today's time are miles ahead of where they were 25 years ago."
John said, just as his skills were overshadowed by his style of play more than two decades ago, his son's grit is often overlooked because of his top-end skill set.
"He reminds me a lot of [Winnipeg Jets' winger] Evander Kane," John said. "Pound for pound, he knows how to take care of himself. But if your game is not up to par, as far as skill level goes, you're going to be left by the wayside."