Langley Knights to join PJHL fold

The North Delta Devils have relocated to the Langley and will call the George Preston Recreation Centre home starting in the 2014/15 Pacific Junior Hockey League season.

The team will be called the Langley Knights and will wear jerseys based in green and yellow.

Devils owner, general manager, and head coach John Craighead is excited about the prospect of bringing junior B hockey to the Brookswood area.

“My goal is to develop local hockey players and be a bridge between minor hockey and junior A,” said Craighead, who suited up for both the Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs during his 13-year pro career. “I want to make it a stepping stone to the next level.”

The PJHL is not the end of the road for some players; in fact, it could only be the beginning of their hockey journey. PJHL alumni include Vancouver Canucks defenceman Jason Garrison, Boston Bruins winger Milan Lucic, and Winnipeg Jets captain Andrew Ladd.

Craighead himself used to play in the league more than a quarter century ago. A bruising right winger, he took the long road to playing pro hockey, skating at the house level as late as bantam before rising up the ranks to junior B, the B.C. Hockey League, and then directly into the pro ranks with the minor league team, the West Palm Beach Blaze, in 1992.

During Craighead’s career, he saw some exhibition action as a member of the Vancouver Canucks and played five games with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1996.

Looking ahead to next season, the move will mean the PJHL will have two Langley Township-based teams, the Kodiaks and the Knights.

“I think it’s great,” said Rihela, who says the short distance between the two teams will create a natural rivalry. “I think it’s fantastic for the league.”

It’s been more than five years since the GPRC has hosted junior hockey. The Langley Chiefs junior A hockey team played there before moving to the Langley Events Centre when it opened in 2009.

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