Flames Captain Jesse Craige re-signs for 2 seasons
When the new campaign begins, Flames captain Jesse Craige will be back under Spectrum lights on the basis of a new 2 year contract. The Canadian defenceman had a stellar opening Elite League run with Surrey’s side, leading the league in assists and points by a Defenceman and being a 1st All-Star team selection in League award voting. The 29 year old iced in every game in every competition, totalling 66 starts while recording 14 goals 59 assists.
“I’m very excited to be coming back to the Flames organisation,” offered the Flames Captain. “I feel last year we had a good season and got our feet wet in the Elite league but that we have unfinished business to take care of this season.”
“We have a great group of players and guys coming back next year and I’m really excited to play with them again.”
The 5’10”, 180lb blueliner joined the club last off season from Gap where he helped with the French Magnus League title and had 3 goals and 24 points before tacking on a 1 goal and 11 assist showing in 16 playoff outings. Craige made his pro debut in the Asian League with Nippon Paper Cranes in 2015-2016 where 54 games, including playoffs, yielded 5 goals and 9 assists.
“Our dressing room was really close and that translated onto the ice during games,” added Craige. “I have to credit our fans for making Guildford such a great place to play and they should take pride in knowing they are a large part in why so many players are interested in coming back.”
“My wife and I loved living in Guildford and the way the city and fans treated us all season. We couldn’t be happier to come back and make Guildford our home for the next couple of years. I know we will have a great team and I hope we can have a lot of success in 2018-2019.”
Before turning to the pro game, the native of Edmonton, Alberta iced 5 seasons in his hometown with the University of Alberta Golden Bears where he helped with back to back National titles in 2014 and 2015 during his final 2 terms of eligibility. In addition to major team success, Craige accepted a variety of honours including Canada West conference 1st or 2nd Team All-Star nods in 3 consecutive seasons; Most Outstanding Defenceman twice; as well as 2nd team All-Canadian selection in 2012-2013 and 1st team All-Canadian in 2014-2015. He was also on form at the University Cup National Finals when he was named to the CIS All-Tournament Team in 3 consecutive seasons between 2012-2013 and 2014-2015. His final year accolades didn’t end there thanks to his selection as the top Defenceman in Canadian college hockey, and a Bronze Medal representing Canada at the World Universiade Games where he had 4 points in 6 starts.
Prior to his university success, and after hoisting a League title with Fort McMurray Oil Barons of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, Craige spent 4 seasons in the Western Hockey League with Lethbridge Hurricanes and Chilliwack Bruins. In 218 Major Junior starts, he posted 27 goals and 109 points not including 7 more in 23 playoff appearances.
“We have a core group of guys that we were really hoping to hold onto for next season, and certainly keeping a guy of Jesse’s calibre, not to mention his leadership skills, is an exciting part of our roster building plans,” explained Head Coach Paul Dixon.
“Jesse’s performance across last season speaks for itself. He is a uniquely gifted Defenceman who can do things at a high pace and he was big part of our ability to limit the time we spent playing in our own zone.”
“Jesse, along with a lot of our other guys, caught the eye of every team in this league, and we are thrilled that among untold options, he has made a deliberate decision to remain here with us, and we are very much looking forward to seeing him back in country when we gather again for a new schedule.”