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NHL Boston Bruins

Bear Tracks Part 2: Visiting Gregory Campbell, Tyler Seguin

The second leg of the Bear Tracks tour, checking in with Boston Bruins during the offseason, continues with stops in Ontario to see Gregory Campbell and Tyler Seguin.

Campbell started his day by hitting the ice–alongside fellow Bear Tracks participant Rich Peverley–although they were on different teams and wearing different numbers. Peverley praised Campbell and said the Bruins are lucky to have him on the team.

Campbell then hung out with his friend Steve Eminger, a Kitchener Rangers teammate from back in Campbell’s OHL days who is with the New York Rangers now. He also brought along his bulldog Wally, who didn’t look so happy to be held in a picture with Campbell and Eminger.

In the basement of Campbell’s summer home, there is some unique memorabilia from the Bruins’ Stanley Cup championship. Alongside a signed picture of the team on ice with the Cup is a print of the official team photo surrounded by bits of sticks used in the decisive Game 7. It’s a one-of-a-kind keepsake and reminds Campbell of the proudest moment of his life so far.

He also has some other neat things from different Boston sports, including a bat autographed by David Ortiz from the Boston Red Sox. Boston athletes tend to be pretty close-knit and supportive of one another, even in different sports, and Campbell’s souvenirs are proof of that.

Like Peverley did, Campbell sat down and answered fan-submitted questions. He revealed that he started skating when he was just two years old and was playing by the age of four. As for his popular nickname of Soupy, he said he doesn’t mind it and that it’s always been his nickname. He enjoys watching “Entourage,” loves the movie “Good Will Hunting” and likes to play away games in Toronto, since he’s near his hometown, as well as in New York City. When the Bruins are on the road, he’s roommates with Seguin, and like Peverley, he too idolized Steve Yzerman as a kid, along with Adam Graves.

Campbell led the way to Tillsonburg, where he grew up, answering questions on the drive and showing off his new wedding ring. He said that if he gets another Stanley Cup day, it will probably be more low-key. Though he’s close to everyone on the team, he said he talks to Milan Lucic, Dennis Seidenberg and his road roommate Seguin the most. For pre-game music, he mixes it up, but he does like rap and dance music.

The  tour shifted to Campbell’s childhood home, where his parents live, a home that includes a trophy room in the basement featuring the stall Wayne Gretzky used when he was with the Rangers. No, seriously. This must have been acquired by Campbell’s dad Colin, who was part of the Rangers organization while Campbell was young. While the elder Campbell was with the Rangers, they won the Stanley Cup, so young Campbell was able to get some time with it long before his career began. Note that he felt courageous enough to break the superstition about players not touching the Cup for fear they’ll never win it. Well, he was just a kid at the time.

Back when Campbell was just a small Soupy, he used his parents’ barn as a gym. He used the wood beams for chin-ups and honed his autograph-signing skills on a blackboard. The arena he played in as a child also features a lot of wooden architecture on the inside, though it has been remodeled.

Finally, Bear Tracks tracked down Seguin in Toronto, where he also begins his day with a warm-up and skating at his alma mater’s facilities. He underwent an intense commute just to get to school every day there when he was a student: his mom drove him about 20 minutes into downtown Brampton, he caught a bus, transferred to another bus and then took the Toronto subway to school. To this day he still feels that prickly fear that he might’ve forgotten his homework whenever he goes there. Considering how far he’d have to go to get something he forgot, who can blame him?

From the looks of the warm-up, though, it’s pretty intense. On the ice with other NHL players, including Michael Cammalleri (famously traded from Montreal to Calgary during a game against the Bruins) and former teammate Tomas Kaberle, Seguin “baseball-batted” a puck past the goalie. A reference to his close call with a baseball or maybe to how he scored the second of the goals needed for his first hat trick? Perhaps.

Later, though, he did reveal that he is actually bad at something to do with fitness: Pilates. He does it to help strengthen his core muscles, but he struggles with it a lot. Who knew?

He too sat down for a question and answer session, revealing that his favorite hockey movie is “Youngblood,” he would play lacrosse if he didn’t play hockey and recalling seeing Adam Foote bring the Cup to Brampton after his wins in 1996 and 2001 with Colorado.

Like some of his other dog-owning teammates, Seguin’s dog Marshall featured prominently in his day. He too looked a little hesitant to pose for the camera, but was very energetic when it came time to take a walk–despite his fear of elevators–and tried to sneak onto the neighbors’ balcony while Seguin answered questions.

Now the Bruins crew is back in New England, having returned to Massachusetts in time for Lucic’s annual charity softball game–more on that later. There probably isn’t enough time left in this offseason to do a third Bear Tracks journey, but here’s hoping for more fun like this next summer.