Twelve missed games and a broken cheekbone didn’t slow Brady Campbell as he posted a stellar performance last season with the Elmira Sugar Kings. Earlier this month, his hard work and accomplishments were recognized, as he made club history by taking an Ontario Hockey Association Top Prospect Forward Award at Toronto’s Hockey Hall of Fame.
One of six Ontario players awarded OHA Top Prospect, Campbell is the first Sugar King to receive the plaque.
“It’s a lot of work, more time than people realize,” Campbell said on June 26.
“It’s putting in a lot of time and effort in the summer just to make sure you’re ready for the season, especially going into my last year of Junior hockey I wanted to make sure I was ready.”
Campbell is one of six players from Ontario listed as an OHA Top Prospect. The award is given to players who have the potential to play at the professional level, as judged by the OHA’s board of directors. An award typically presented to OJHL players, this is the first for a player with the Elmira Sugar Kings and the only one from the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League this year.Other top prospects include OJHL players Shane Conacher, Patrick McCarron and Troy Josephs of the St. Michael’s Buzzers, Charlie Finn (Kingston Voyageurs) and Tyler Enns (Toronto Lakeshore Patriots).
In the 2012-13 Junior B season, Campbell was named player of the month twice, finished second for goals in the league (40) and fifth in points (69). He was a Mid-Western Conference first-team all-star and won the Leroy Jamieson Memorial Award for outstanding contribution to the team.
“At the end of the day that’s why we are doing what we are doing. We want to win championships but first and foremost we want to make sure players are given the best opportunities to move forward,” said Kings general manager Paul Jennings.
Shedding a King-green jersey, he’ll don blue-and-white for the University of Maine this fall. Campbell shared an elite player reputation with fellow Sugar King Jake Weidner, who has committed to the NCAA at Cornell University.
Campbell had a chance to shine with the Kings, Jennings noted, after gruelling off-season training and commitment to the game.
“We had a conversation with him a year ago about getting into summertime, off-season training and he went out and did that. Those were the key things that he needed to do in order to be an elite player.”
With awards and prospects piling up, the 21-year-old isn’t too stressed about his future.
“I don’t think so at this point, just looking forward to another great opportunity to play in Maine. I guess coming in as a freshman I’m not sure what the expectations are right now, but maybe once the season begins and I get more familiar with my role there will be a little bit more pressure.”
A combination of the right support systems, talent and hard work led Campbell to success, Jennings concluded.
“He just has an explosive first step. He’s got great feet and he’s got unbelievable hockey IQ. This year, things that he changed in his game were that he was willing to go to the other side, get to the dirty areas. Speaking to the University of Maine, those are the reasons they ended up recruiting him,” he explained.