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Thursday, October 24
Craighead will play for AHL club in Manitoba

Associated Press

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The Vancouver Canucks signed training camp walk-on John Craighead to a two-year, two-way contract on Thursday.

Craighead, a 6-foot, 200-pound tough forward, spent the last four years playing in Germany and hasn't played in the NHL since a five-game stint with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1996-97.

"It was a dream come true to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs," said the 30-year-old Craighead, who was born in Virginia, but moved to the Vancouver area when he was 3 and grew up a Canucks fan. "Nothing against Toronto but it's not Vancouver."

Craighead had four fights and 22 penalty minutes in four preseason games with Vancouver and, provided he clears waivers, will start his Canucks career with Manitoba of the AHL.

For Craighead it's the end of a long path and a dream come true. He started his professional career 11 years ago in something called the Sunshine League in Florida, playing for 12 teams in six leagues, three countries and two continents before joining the Canucks.

He's battled through the deaths of his sister, and to his best friend -- the best man at his wedding and his biggest fan who died this summer. He's played overseas while his wife and two kids waited on the other side of the world for his dream to come home. Now it has.

"My Mom cries every time I talk to her on the phone and my boys run around with little jerseys saying their dad is playing for the Canucks," Craighead said.

In other moves Thursday, Vancouver sent 21-year-old rookie Fedor Fedorov -- the younger brother of Detroit star Sergei Fedorov -- and defenseman Bryan Allen to Manitoba of the AHL.

Fedorov was demoted to make room for veteran center Trevor Linden, who returned to the lineup against Anaheim on Thursday night, just two weeks after spraining his knee in the first game of the season.

Allen will play with Manitoba on Saturday and Sunday before being recalled. Allen, the fourth overall draft pick in 1998, played the first four games and scored his first NHL goal in the season opener. He was a healthy scratch in the last four games.

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