Lorna Campbell is the warm, enthusiastic and oh-so-gracious mother of 3-time NHL All-star player and Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell, #51. We all know Brian for a lot of winning reasons, but we all just love him to pieces for that feed he made to Patrick Kane to clinch the Hawks’ game winner for the Stanley Cup in 2010.
Of all the successes Brian has accumulated, I’m stopped in my tracks by the following:
• Brian was injured last March when 2 ribs and his clavicle were broken in a game against the Capitals. Having played in 388 consecutive games up to this point, Brian’s incredible stamina and determination surfaced again when he came back early from his injuries. Brian’s diehard attitude ignited the Hawks in the playoffs. The rest is history. Stanley Cup history.
• Brian won OHL’s Most Gentlemanly Player of the Year (and, yes, OHL’s Most Outstanding Player, OHL’s Defenseman of the Year, and CHL’s Player of the Year).
• Brian launched Campbell for Kids, http://www.campbellforkids.org, an organization supporting children with special needs and disabilities.
Well, heart be still on all three counts. I couldn’t help but wonder who raised this admirable man and gifted hockey star. What I found was a hockey mom who—from head to toe—is thoughtful, smart, supportive, loyal and fun. Truly precious.
S: Do you live in Canada? Have you always lived there?
L: Yes. My husband and I were both raised on farms. We have lived in Strathroy Ontario Canada since being married. Strathroy has a population of about 15,000 and is about a two hour drive southwest of Toronto.
S: How is it up there weather-wise right now?
L: We sometimes get more snow than Chicago, but our weather is usually pretty much the same as yours.
S: Do you mind if I ask whether you work?
L: I work at Scotiabank and am the Manager of Customer Service.
S: Do you have any hobbies you’re passionate about?
L: Other than hockey, I enjoy cooking, playing bridge, shopping and boating.
S: Are you able to watch all the Hawks games? How often do you get to Brian’s games now?
L: We watch all the Blackhawks games. We get to Chicago on a regular basis and also to Detroit, Toronto, Buffalo and Columbus.
S: Can you tell me a little bit about when you realized that Brian had what it took to be a professional hockey player?
L: Brian demonstrated excellent hockey and skating skills by the time he was 7 or 8 years old. Even with this and the amount of focus and commitment he brought to the game, we learned that luck and opportunity play a part in how far you can go with hockey. When Brian got drafted to the NHL at 18 years old, we felt he might have a chance.
S: What made you the happiest as a hockey mom of a young hockey player?
L: The fact that Brian loved hockey, but wasn’t consumed by hockey. He always had other friends and interests.
S: What was the most challenging about being a hockey mom of a young player?
L: It was sometimes hard to decide on the proper and most beneficial route for Brian to take in his hockey career. As a Canadian there are two paths for advanced players: the Ontario Hockey League or a U.S. scholarship. Both of these routes have different guidelines and requirements.
Also, since hockey is so time-consuming, it is important to maintain a balance in the family, especially for other siblings who may not choose the hockey route as their main focus. This isn’t always easy.
S: What makes you the happiest as a hockey mom of a professional hockey player?
L: Seeing my child thoroughly enjoy the profession he has chosen, while also giving back to the community.
S: Do you worry a lot about injuries?
L: I sure do. Every time Brian gets hit, I cringe. I’m always nervous that he will get hit by an errant puck.
S: What makes Brian so gentlemanly? And we want very exact guidelines on how to nurture this!
L: I believe it’s due to our strong immediate and extended family. Brian cares about other people, and this was nurtured in him through support and positive feedback.
S: Where were you when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup last year?
L: I was there in Philadelphia with all the other parents, thanks to the Blackhawks organization, especially Rocky Wirtz.
S: Can you describe the feeling of seeing that win, that culmination of so much diligent effort from you, your family, and Brian?
L: Delayed reaction because we, like so many others, didn’t see the puck in the net. I was elated that my son was on the ice at that moment and got an assist on the winning goal.
S: Can you share what Brian did with the Stanley Cup when he had it over the summer?
L: Breakfast at our home with friends, the ambulance station in Strathroy, Brian’s grandparents’ home, a walk through for the public at Strathroy Arena, reception for 300 people at the golf club, and a visit to Rock the Park (a charity event) with Alice Cooper.
S: Did you personally do anything really cool or silly with the Cup yourself?
L: I took it to Scotiabank, my place of work, to share with the staff and customers.
S: Were you able to go on the road trip the Blackhawks organization recently sponsored for the players’ moms?
S: Can you tell me a little bit about it? How many moms, where did you go? What did you do? Where did you stay? Did you buy anything on Rodeo Drive?
L: The trip was first class, the Blackhawks way. We went to games in Anaheim and L.A. We took a bus tour to Hollywood and Beverly Hills to see the movie stars homes, went shopping at Saks, had dinner with the team at Maestros Restaurant, ate brunch at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel and we stayed at the Ritz Carlton Hotel.
S: The Hawks organization seems incredibly considerate and family-oriented. That’s so supportive and what hockey is all about.
S: Did you and the other moms talk game strategy on that trip?
L: We did talk hockey because this is our common denominator. All the moms are pretty knowledgeable about the sport and it has certainly influenced all of our lives.
S: Do you ever second guess the coach?
L: I simply respect the fact that the coaches have a difficult job with instant decisions to make.
S: Do you or did you ever have any pregame rituals or superstitions?
L: I was always conscientious about making sure Brian followed a proper diet when he was at home playing.
S: Do you skate? Do you spit (sorry, I always ask this of anyone associated with the game of hockey because it is my pet peeve where male hockey players are concerned)?
L: Yes, I skate, No, I’m not a spitter.
S: What do you like most about the extended hockey family? How has the hockey family factored into your life?
L: When Brian was young, hockey was a big part of our social life. All the parents are focused on this very time-consuming sport and trying to support their child, so it was a natural and it was very nice.
S: Do you ever call Brian “soupy?”
L: On occasion.
S: So, would you do it all over again?
L: Yes!!! We have had amazing experiences from hockey and have met so many good people.
S: Do you mind telling me a little bit about your own family?
L: My husband, Ed, is a retired school principal. We have two other sons, both married. Craig lives in Toronto Ontario and is in the health care profession. Darryl is in pharmaceuticals and lives in London Ontario. We have two delightful granddaughters.
S: Do you have any rink fashion tips you can share? Do you have a favorite lip gloss?
L: Dress warmly, but stylishly! Smashbox lip gloss.
S: Do you have a favorite recipe you’d be willing to share with all of us? Something sure to help young hockey players score?
L: My Butter Tart Recipe; I still make these tarts for Brian, and he keeps them in his freezer in Chicago. He says, “A Butter Tart a day keeps the doctor away.”
S: I’ll post Lorna’s delicious recipe within the next week. Watch for it!
S: Please finish this sentence: hockey moms are _____________________.
L: Reliable, supportive, knowledgeable and sympathetic.
S: Please finish this sentence: hockey players are ____________________.
L: Respectful, motivated, generous, thoughtful, humble, appreciative.
S: Anything else?
L: Brian is holding his second annual charity event, Campbell for Kids, a Texas Hold’Em Poker Tournament at the Horseshoe Casino. Proceeds from the event go toward programs supporting children with autism in the Chicago area. The tournament is supported by the entire Blackhawks organization and attendance is expected to be at least 700 people. http://www.campbellforkids.org