COUNTRY T H I S I S C A M P B E L L Colin and Gregory —Tillsonburg’s own NHL duo

T he odds of a kid making it from minor hockey to a steady NHL career are roughly one in 4,000—or at least that’s what the experts tell us. So you really can’t fault Colin Campbell’s late mother, Gwen, for questioning her son’s career aspira- tions back in 1965. “He told me when he was in grade six that he was going to play in the NHL,” she recalled in 1994. “I told him, ‘Be realistic. You’ve got to think of something else.’” Colin wouldn’t hear of it. One way or another, he would go to ‘the show.’ To the amazement of every- one around him, he was right. At 17, Colin left home to join Roger Neilson and the OHL Peter- borough Petes. In 1972-73, he was drafted fifth overall by the Vancou- ver Blazers of the WHA, and 27th overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL. (Top) Head Coach Colin Campbell on the bench of New York Rangers in 1995. (Photo by Charles Wenzelberg/ New York Post Archives / (c) NYP Hold- ings, Inc. via Getty Images) (Right) Gregory Campbell celebrates after Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final in Vancouver.

After a year in the WHA, Colin switched leagues. It didn’t take long for him to make his presence felt. Known as a scrappy, no-nonsense defender, Campbell’s NHL stat sheet speaks for itself: 11 seasons played, 25 goals, 103 assists and nearly 1300 penalty minutes. Campbell’s story would have been impressive enough had it end- ed there—but as it turned out, that was only the beginning. When Campbell’s playing days were over, he moved behind the bench, coaching the likes of Probert,

Gretzky and Messier. In fact, it was as an assistant coach with the New York Rangers in 1994 that Campbell finally won a Stanley Cup. Campbell’s son, Gregory, was just 10 years old at the time—and he couldn’t have been more impres- sionable. “I want to win the Stanley Cup so bad I can taste it,” a young Gregory wrote. No one was surprised. After all, Gregory was a rink rat—a kid who’d spent years rubbing shoul- ders with the greatest in the game. Still, there are no free rides in the


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