Albany Academy honors Craig Darby

Craig Darby never thought he would see the day where a hockey team would retire his jersey number.

The Colonie native saw that day happen Saturday when Albany Academy retired his No. 17 jersey prior to the Cadets' home game against Canterbury School.

\It was definitely not something I planned on doing, but it's something I'll never forget, said Darby.

Albany Academy honored Darby not only for what he did during his career at the private school -- a school-record 302 career points and a state title in 1991 -- but also for what he did after he graduated. He played two seasons at Providence College before embarking on a 15-year professional career that included stops in the National Hockey League, American Hockey League and Europe.

During the short ceremony, Darby thanked the school and his coach, Dave Rider, as well as his parents for supporting himn throughout his formative years as a hockey player.

"They made some huge sacrifices," Darby said of his parents. "The commitment of having children playing hockey is a full family commitment, both financially and in terms of time."

Darby knows that commitment very well. Today, he's coaching his son Kyle's Saratoga Blue Knights bantam division team, and his daughter Cristina plays.

It wasn't long ago that Darby was lacing up his skates, though. He bounced around Europe for several years after it became apparent to him that the NHL was no longer within his reach, and he retired only two years ago.

"The NHL window was closed, and [playing in Europe] was more about seeing other countries that I'd normally never get to see and playing hockey," said Darby.

"I think he would have played hockey for a couple more years in Europe, but Kyle was entering middle school and we didn't want to keep moving every couple of years," said Carey Darby, Craig's wife.

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