Abbotsford’s Ryan Craig is now a Stanley Cup champion.
Craig has been an assistant coach with the Vegas Golden Knights since the team began in the 2017-18 season.
The Golden Knights earned the championship with a 9-3 win over the Florida Panthers in game five of the best-of-seven series on Tuesday (June 13).
Vegas also reached the final in the team’s inaugural season in 2018 but lost that year to the Washington Capitals. The franchise has already competed in 88 playoff games in just six seasons.
Craig, a 2000 W. J. Mouat Secondary grad, played minor hockey in Abbotsford. After his years in Abbotsford, he joined the Brandon Wheat Kings and collected 268 points in 302 games in the Western Hockey League. He served as team captain for his final two seasons in Brandon.
Craig was then drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the eighth round (255th overall) of the 2002 NHL draft. He then spent seasons in the American Hockey League and the ECHL before earning an opportunity with the Lightning in the 2005-06 season.
A big congratulations to AMHA alumnus, Ryan Craig on winning the Stanley Cup as an Assistant Coach with the Vegas Golden Knights and also to his family who have been and continue to be a big part our local hockey community. pic.twitter.com/BZKyWqiNYv— Abbotsford Hawks (@AMHA_Hockey) June 14, 2023
That season was his most productive as an NHL-er, scoring 15 goals and 28 points in 48 games with the Lightning. The following season, he scored 14 goals and 27 points with Tampa. He would spend the rest of his career moving back and forth between the AHL and the NHL and making stops with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets organizations.
He served as captain for the AHL’s Springfield Falcons, Norfolk Admirals, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Lake Erie/Cleveland Monsters. He captured the Calder Cup with the Monsters in 2015-16.
Craig’s NHL totals were 63 points in 198 games and his AHL numbers were 360 points in 711 games. He retired from the game to take on the role of assistant coach with the Golden Knights on June 9, 2017.
There is a possibility that Craig brings the Stanley Cup to Abbotsford, but that has not yet been confirmed. Aldergrove’s Shea Theodore, a defenceman on the Golden Knights who also played at Abbotsford’s Yale Hockey Academy, may also bring the trophy to the Fraser Valley for a visit.
The Craig family is still involved in the Abbotsford hockey community, with Ryan’s brother Jarrett Craig serving as the head coach and director of hockey operations for the Abbotsford Pilots of the Pacific Junior Hockey League.