Campbell Shared the Joy
Friday, 07.29.2011 / 6:21 PM ET
KITCHENER, Ontario -- During the season, Gregory Campbell is one of the players that the media goes to when they need a thorough explanation of what is going on -- right or wrong -- with the Bruins.
But it was Campbell's reply to the question, "What will you do with the Stanley Cup?" that was one of his best answers to date.
"Well, I got the Cup early and just took a couple of pictures around the house," explained Campbell during a break in his day with Lord Stanley's silver bowl on July 29. "I wanted to get those pictures out of the way."
Campbell had a few important tasks to complete before his celebrating began in the afternoon.
"I felt like I've been so lucky and privileged and blessed to be able to win this thing, and to be able to do something I love on a daily basis," he said. "So I felt like it was important for me to give a little bit of the joy I felt in winning this thing back to some people, so I wanted to take it to a hospital -- specifically a children's hospital -- where those kids are fighting a much bigger fight than we had to, to win this thing.
"If they can receive a little joy from this thing, the Stanley Cup, that gives me joy and makes me happy that they can share in my experience."
Thanks to Campbell, many children at Grand River Hospital in Kitchener had their own special experience with the Cup and, for a short moment, the joy that they felt when they got to touch the Stanley Cup or meet Campbell might just have helped the patients and their families forget the more serious circumstances that saw them spending time in a hospital.
"The Stanley Cup is something that is so important to Canadians and it's something that you grow up with," said Campbell. "Many kids grew up playing hockey and wanting to win it, so it's definitely a thrill, I think, for me to be able to share my experiences with other kids and specifically kids that are having a tough time right now.
"So I wanted to do something like that."
Also important was to remember two people who made a distinct impact on his life -- Bob and Anne Slipec.
"We went on to see my billet family, in Waterloo," said Campbell. "Although I only spent a year with them, it really left a big mark on my life and my career and have been two very influential people on me, just how they took me in and treated me as their own son.
"I definitely wanted to let them experience it, as well," he continued. "I feel like it's important when you win something and when you have success, that , you [realize] I didn't do it alone.
"There's a lot of people that helped me win this, specifically the people that I want involved in my day today."
And that's why Campbell's Cup day began in the Kitchener/Waterloo area of Ontario.
"Well, I obviously played part of my junior career in Kitchener, so I was fortunate enough to win a Memorial Cup with this team, in this city," said the Bruins center. "And as you know, now, going through the experience that we had with Boston, when you win something in that city, you always hold a special thought for that city, and I have done that in Kitchener.
"It was a place that, although it's not my place of birth or a place that I grew up in, it's really become home for me.
"Playing here, meeting a lot of friends here. I had a lot of special moments here and I thought that it was a good thought to have a home base, and really have come to enjoy it over the years," he said.
After his time with his host family and the children, Campbell moved on to his parents' farm just a few miles and minutes down the highway.
"Obviously, I grew up everywhere, but it's always been a place, my parents were both born there, and it's been a place every summer we've returned back there," said Campbell, whose father Colin played and coached in the National Hockey League and is now the Director of Hockey Operations for the NHL.
"Moving around my entire life, it's an area I could call home...and there's something about small towns and the feel that you get when you go into a small town, and it's definitely an area that I've grown to love."
Chemistry is important for any team and Campbell said that is one of the reasons the B's took home hockey's Holy Grail in June.
"One of the major reasons why we won is that everybody was so close on that team and wanted to play for each other," he said.
Team Campbell certainly has chemistry, too. Maybe that's why the clan has two Stanley Cups to celebrate (Colin won as an assistant coach with the New York Rangers in 1994).
"Well I think everybody shares the same experience growing up, playing hockey. It takes a lot of sacrifice and it's not just us -- the players -- sacrificing, it's your parents who are driving you places, its your sisters who are taking a back seat while your parents are at a tournament with you. It's the support that you receive along the way because anyone who plays sports, anyone who plays hockey, can tell you that it's not all the fun that it's worked out to be," said Campbell. "There's a lot of times where things are tough and you need that support, you need that unconditional love from your family that kind of grounds you a little bit.
"For me, as I said earlier, it's important to share my joy with the people that helped me achieve winning the Stanley Cup, and that's none other than my family.
"Along the way I've had tremendous support from my extended family and all my friends, so the people that I wanted involved in my day are people that have touched me along the way."