Very few players get the opportunity to play five years of Junior A hockey in Canada. Even fewer get the opportunity to do it with one team.
Scott Campbell has done just that, and this week he looks to wrap up his Junior A career with an RBC Royal Bank Cup championship for the Pembroke Lumber Kings.
“It would be overwhelming to be able to cap it all off with a national championship,” Campbell said between games in Prince George, BC this week. “We have had a lot of ups and downs in the five years I have been here, and to be able to win a championship in my last game would be amazing.”
Not much was expected from the Lumber Kings in 2006-07, especially after losing five of their top six scorers from last season, including three 100-point men.
But led by Campbell, Pembroke’s captain, and a balanced offensive attack, the Lumber Kings finished the season atop the Central Junior A Hockey League standings with a 44-10-2-2 record, a whopping 22 points ahead of the runner-up Ottawa Jr. Senators.
Campbell carried much of the offensive load, racking up a CJHL-leading 107 points – including a league-high 53 goals – but is quick to deflect some of the praise to linemates Brandon Richardson, who was the only Lumber King other than Campbell to finish with more than 60 points, and Chris Laganiere, who turned out to be a valuable pick-up after an early season trade with Hawkesbury.
“I’ve had great support from Brandon and Chris all year,” Campbell says. “We really work well together, and it seems to get the rest of the team going. We don’t really try to carry the load, we just go out and play.”
The Navan, ON native has been a fixture on the Lumber Kings since joining the team as a 16-year-old for the 2002-03 season, and says the support the team receives in the community has been a major part of him staying for five years.
“The players, the staff…the whole team is treated so well in the community,” Campbell says of Pembroke, which is located 150 kilometres northwest of Ottawa. “The support we receive is amazing, and the fans are easily the best in the league. We owe them a lot, and we are successful because of them.”
While Campbell’s Junior A career may be ending with this week’s National Junior A Championship, his hockey career will continue. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound forward will attend the University of Massachusetts-Lowell in the fall, and will look to take to the ice for the River Hawks’ in the 2007-08 season.
Campbell says he spoke with a handful of schools about scholarship opportunities, but UMass-Lowell was easily the most interested, even without seeing him play a lot.
He made a trip from Pembroke to the school’s campus and was extremely impressed with the facilities. He committed to the River Hawks a short time later.
“They dressed 13 freshmen as regulars this season, so it should be fairly easy to crack the line-up,” Campbell says. “Hopefully I can bring in some young leadership and be a big, physical presence, kind of the same way I am here.”