Gregory Campbell with Wally at his family home in Tillsonburg.
When you walk into the barn at Campbell's parents' home, the musk aroma and crafted wooden frame immediately take you back to a time when a young Gregory might spend hours shooting pucks into its sides. This is the place where No. 11 worked out growing up - he wasn't necessarily going to the gym all the time, so he did chin-ups on the wood beams.
For the hockey faithful, a slew of Youngblood references come to mind... And though Campbell was not the cornerstone of a movie, he said there were actually times when his Dad would turn on the Rocky soundtrack and he would have his own Rocky Balboa moment after a tough workout.
The training was laced with dreams of one day making it to the NHL - and like every other hockey player in his youth, a young Campbell would sometimes practice signing his name. The blackboard with those decades-old autographs now stays in his parents' barn - a foreshadowing, to say the least. And when glancing around at the memories inside the barn, Gregory had a good laugh looking at the "autographs" and remembering those "glory days."
In addition to workouts inside the barn, there was also a steep hill behind his house with a stream at the bottom, where he would usually run up and down 20 times. Longtime friend (and current New York Ranger) Steve Eminger would often join in the workouts and they would help push each other.
Gregory and longtime friend Steve Eminger with Wally!
After a tough workout Sunday morning in Guelph, Bruins forward Rich Peverley was afforded a summer luxury not often available during a grueling NHL season – an afternoon to spend time with his family at his home. Following a cannonball into the pool and a swim with his daughter, Rich sat down poolside with BostonBruins.com to talk about some off-ice interests.
Right away, Bruins beat reporter John Bishop fired the tough question at him – Right now, what are your favorite songs on your iPod?
“I went and saw Coldplay a couple of weeks ago. I really liked their concert,” he said after a moment’s thought. “I’d say Paradise or Charlie Brown from their new CD… and I always have a Pearl Jam song on there.”
When asked if he could sing a few songs for us instead of naming the tracks, No. 49 smirked, “Can I sing a few bars of it? Probably not…”
Switching gears from music to the big screen, Peverley admitted it’s tough to get the movie theater. “It’s such a treat when we get to go to the movies – I don’t get to go that much.” But he has seen a flick with one of his teammates included in the credits…
“I’ve only seen Ted, and the only thing I saw was Shawn Thornton coming in and punching the guy out when he jumps on stage, which was pretty funny,” he laughed.
“I’d give him a 10 out of 10 on that one.”
Much of the forward’s time in the summer is spent preparing for the upcoming season – strict workouts and a close eye on nutrition – a standard for any NHL athlete.
But if he was given a bye and could give into his guilty pleasure, he’d choose what many consider an American classic - a hamburger and French fries – but would add his own Canadian twist - “or poutine,” he added. “Especially when you’re in Canada.”
When it comes to hobbies or interests off the ice, you’ll catch Peverley tuning into another sport whenever he can.
“I’m a pretty avid soccer fan,” he said. “I got to see them in Boston. I got to spend time with Liverpool, which was pretty amazing.”
“Yesterday was the first day of the new soccer season – the Premier League season – and I watched a few games. I follow it pretty closely and I’m a pretty diehard fan.”
And we had to ask… Who is the biggest prankster on the team (if there is one…)?
“I don’t even know if we have one,” said Peverley. “I guess Marchy… but he’s not much of a prankster – it’s just what other guys force him to do,” he laughed.
GUELPH, Ontario -- Given what he's achieved, Rich Peverley could be excused if he were satisfied.
But even as the Ontario-native showed us around his beautiful new home in Guelph, he pointed out that in his experience -- and there's been plenty of experiences for Rich in the NCAA, ECHL, AHL and NHL -- nothing feeds dreams like achieving them.
However, even the bright August sunshine on a pristine Canadian day couldn't hide the dark look in Pev's eyes as his thoughts drifted to his most recent hockey season.
"We were able to win the Stanley Cup…but after you spend a year being knocked out of the playoffs first round after winning the Cup it definitely drives you to go back and to win it again," said Peverley. "It’s not the same type of life you want to live.
"You want to live being a winner and winning is the ultimate goal."
But beyond Peverley's obvious disappointment regarding the 2011-12 campaign, there's no doubt in my mind that Rich was always a winner.
And despite his being sheepish about showing the BostonBruins.com and bostonbruinsTV crew some of the memorabilia he's collected along his hockey journey (most of which was in a plastic bin that had until recently resided at his parents' house), the pride Pevs has put into each step of the way is apparent.
Even so, I asked Rich what, if anything, his 30-year-old self would tell the 19-year-old St. Lawrence University skater to change as he embarked on his career.
Peverley thought for a second, looked around, and with the sounds of his happy family cascading over the backyard pool just shook his head.
"Yeah I wouldn’t go back at all," said Peverley. "These are just learning steps that you always have to take and it’s a learning curve.
"I’ve learned a lot through my experiences and I think that that’s the ultimate learning tool," he added. "So, you know, I wouldn’t change anything."
Peverley's hometown is the birthplace of John McCrae, who wrote "In Flanders Fields."
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Lieutenant Colonel McCrae was a Canadian doctor, writer and artist who died serving his country during World War I.