It appears John Craighead will be back to coach Surrey Knights next hockey season, after serving a two-year suspension.
In a Facebook post today (Wednesday), the PJHL team said it was “excited to announce the return of ‘Coach Craighead’ this upcoming season. Mr. Craighead will once again be behind the bench of the Surrey Knights as Head Coach for the 2018/19 Season to share his wealth of hockey experience.”
Craighead, a co-owner and former general manager of the Junior B squad, was handed a six-year suspension by BC Hockey in 2016, for an incident during a game at Langley’s George Preston Recreation Centre the previous September.
At the time, the Knights were based in Langley, prior to the team moving to Surrey in the fall of 2016 to play home games at North Surrey rec centre.
During the game that resulted in his suspension, Craighead confronted the Mission City Outlaws coach on the visitors’ bench. The confrontation occurred while an on-ice brawl was happening; Craighead said at the time he felt his players were in danger. The on-ice incident sent several Langley players to hospital.
The suspension was originally set to last until September 2021, but Craighead appealed the decision and, apparently, has been reinstated and allowed to coach in the league again – at least according to the Knights’ Facebook post today.
Since moving to Surrey, the Knights have just one regular-season win.
This season’s Spencer McHaffie-coached squad earned just three points in the 11-team league.
The Knights’ lone win of the 2017-18 season came on Nov. 24, when they shot down the Pilots in Abbotsford by a score of 2-0, following a strong performance by goaltender Zakery Babin.
Craighead, who played on the Vancouver Canucks for a time, brings 13 years of pro hockey experience to the club, according to the team’s latest Facebook post.
“With tremendous connections in the hockey world, he plans to help all members of his team advance to the next level. With alliances at the Jr A level, Mr. Craighead plans to make sure all his players are given ample opportunity to further their hockey careers.
“Mr. Craighead at one time played in the PJHL and believes his philosophies will continue to help mold and advance the leagues ability to produce great players who will go on to live their dreams of playing in the NHL as he once did.”