Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 2010, 17

The Stanley Cup arrives in Strathroy, ON to spend the day with Brian Campbell.
The Stanley Cup arrives in Strathroy, ON to spend the day with Brian Campbell. (Walt Neubrand/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Brian Campbell was still evolving into the smooth-skating workhorse defenceman he'd later become when he was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres from the OHL's Ottawa 67s in 1997.

In fact, it would take two years until he exploded, showcasing the talent he'd become. In 1999, Brian contributed 87 points to the Ottawa 67s, then helped them go on to claim junior supremacy by winning the Memorial Cup.

It took a moving van for Brian to carry home his hardware: Max Kaminsky Trophy as the OHL's outstanding defenceman, Red Tilson Trophy as the OHL's most valuable player, First Team All-Star honours, CHL Player of the Year and the George Parsons Trophy as the Memorial Cup tournament's most sportsmanlike player.

That year, Campbell also was part of Team Canada's heartbreaking silver medal won at the World Juniors tournament, and placed on the All-Star Team.

Brian Campbell and family pose for photos with the Stanley Cup in their backyard.
Brian Campbell and family pose for photos with the Stanley Cup in their backyard. (Walt Neubrand/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Brian joined the Sabres for a handful of games in 1999-2000 but didn't earn full-time employment in Buffalo until 2002-03. The freewheeling rusher was a mainstay on the Buffalo blueline until 2007-08. Fearing that they couldn't re-sign the unrestricted free agent, the Sabres dealt Campbell to the San Jose Sharks at the trade deadline. At the conclusion of the=at season, he was named to the NHL Second All-Star Team.

When the Sharks were eliminated from Stanley Cup contention during the spring of 2008, Brian did, in fact, exercise the opportunity to test the free agent waters and landed on the roster of the Chicago Blackhawks. There, it was his hope that he would become part of a Stanley Cup championship.

Two years later, Brian Campbell got his wish!

The Stanley Cup arrived in London, Ontario by plane on the morning of Friday, July 23. Brian and some of his friends were there to meet the Cup and, loading Lord Stanley's gift to hockey into a limo bus, made the 45-minute drive to Brian's hometown of Strathroy, Ontario.

Brian Campbell and the Stanley Cup arrive at the Gemini Sportsplex in Strathroy, ON.
Brian Campbell and the Stanley Cup arrive at the Gemini Sportsplex in Strathroy, ON. (Walt Neubrand/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Strathroy is celebrating its 150th birthday this year, and was primed and ready to celebrate with the Hawks' star. It wasn't the first time the lovely southern Ontario town had been visited by the Stanley Cup; in fact, in 2007, Andy McDonald brought the Cup home after winning it with the Anaheim Ducks. But you can never have hockey's greatest trophy in your midst often enough.

Brian first took the Cup to an intimate backyard party with family and close friends. Mom (Lorna), Dad (Ed) and brothers Craig and Darryl beamed with pride as Brian spoke to attendees, who munched on Timbits in Blackhawk colours and drank Tim Hortons coffee. Pictures aplenty were taken.

The Stanley Cup was then escorted through town in a vintage ambulance owned by a friend of the Campbell family. They stopped by the local fire department and ambulance depot for photographs, and then dropped by the ScotiaBank where Lorna works to be greeted by her colleagues, justifiably proud of the accomplishment of their friend's son.

The Stanley Cup and Molson Cup look on as Brian Campbell tees off at the Oaks Golf and Country Club.
The Stanley Cup and Molson Cup look on as Brian Campbell tees off at the Oaks Golf and Country Club. (Walt Neubrand/Hockey Hall of Fame)
By noon, a crowd of 1,500 had already gathered at the Gemini Sportsplex to see Brian and get a picture with the Stanley Cup. A two-year-old hockey player named Jack Derbyshire was first in line to get a picture with the Cup, the result of being selected to represent the Strathroy District Minor Hockey Association because he is the youngest player registered for the upcoming season. Brian picked him up and placed him on the table next to the Stanley Cup to determine which was taller. Pretty close call!

Strathroy mayor Mel Veale welcomed Campbell and thanked him so much for honouring the city by returning home to show appreciation to those who supported him as his hockey skills developed. Brian responded by saying, "Strathroy is a good town to grow up in and I'm proud to say I'm from here. Hopefully, I can inspire kids to work hard at hockey and achieve their goals."

Photos with Brian and the Cup followed, with donations channelled to the Strathroy District Minor Hockey Association and to the Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital. The line-up seemed to never end, and finally concluded at 3:00PM.

A private party was held for the Stanley Cup at the Oaks Golf and Country Club in nearby Delaware. A quick golf tournament was played, giving the winning foursome the opportunity to hoist the Cup. As it turned out, Brian's team won the tourney. Afterwards, barbecued pork and sliders were served.

Brian Campbell and the Stanley Cup on stage with Alice Cooper at Rock The Park in London, ON.
Brian Campbell and the Stanley Cup on stage with Alice Cooper at Rock The Park in London, ON. (Walt Neubrand/Hockey Hall of Fame)
London stages an annual concert extravaganza called Rock The Park. This year, acts playing through the course of the weekend included Heart, April Wine, Lynyrd Skynyrd, 3 Doors Down, Peter Frampton and the excitingly lugubrious Alice Cooper. A Blackhawks' jersey was given to Alice, whose show featured Frankenstein, ninjas, a guillotine and…the Stanley Cup! During the Alice Cooper classic 'Under My Wheels,' the singer said, "Maybe you can recognize this!" Out walked Brian Campbell wearing his jersey and holding the Cup aloft. The crowd was frenzied and Brian soaked in the cheers. Alice then kissed the Cup and Brian handed it to him to hoist himself. Clearly, Cooper revelled in holding hockey's iconic trophy!

After the show, the party continued back at a friend's rooftop condo overlooking London.

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The Stanley Cup Journal next visits defenceman Brent Sopel, and you'll find out how his celebration went on Friday!

Kevin Shea is the Editor of Publications and Online Features for the Hockey Hall of Fame.





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