Abbotsford’s Ryan Craig named Vegas Golden Knights coach

W.J. Mouat grad will serve as second assistant coach for new team

Abbotsford’s Ryan Craig will be behind the bench when the puck drops for the NHL’s newest team this fall.

Craig was named as the second assistant for the Vegas Golden Knights, the league’s latest expansion team set to debut in the 2017/18 season.

The 2000 W. J. Mouat Secondary grad played minor hockey in Abbotsford, starring for the Hawks.

“I am proud to add Ryan as an assistant coach,” said Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant, in a statement.

“He is well-respected in the hockey community and has been a tremendous leader throughout his playing career, both on and off the ice. I am confident that the leadership characteristics he exuded as a player will translate well behind the bench in his new role as an assistant coach.”

Craig, 35, was drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the eighth round of the 2002 NHL draft.

The centre went on to play 198 games for Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and Columbus, notching 32 goals and 31 assists.

Craig spent the majority of his playing career in the AHL in Hershey, Springfield, Norfolk, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Lake Eerie and Cleveland, where he captained the Monsters to the 2016 Calder Cup. In 711 games over 14 years, Craig tallied 360 points (172 goals, 188 assists).

In a video posted to the Golden Knight’s Twitter page, Craig said the decision to go straight from playing to coaching not one he took lightly.

“It was an opportunity that presented itself, and one that I really couldn’t pass up. So, obviously I’mlooking forward to being a part of the Golden Knights and joining Gerard [Gallant] and his staff.”