A dream come true for Leafs’ Campbell inking German deal

Shawn Campbell of the Nelson Leafs is continuing his hockey career in Germany with the Stuttgart Rebels.


Photos from Nelson Leafs Facebook page



The dream to play professional hockey in Europe was planted in Shawn Campbell’s mind while he watched his father Scott in Germany.


Scott spent 13 years with six professional hockey teams in Germany after a four-year career with Colorado College in the National Collegiate Athletic Association. It was while in Ausburg, where Shawn was born, that he met his wife as he played for the Ausburger Panthers in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga.


Now Shawn, a graduate of the Nelson Leafs, gets the shot he dreamed of with the Stuttgart Rebels.


“It’s amazing. I’m really looking forward to this,” says Shawn, who had interest from another German club when they found out he had a German passport.


Shawn thought he was done playing after a career season in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL). The Castlegar native set career highs in goals (31) and points (50) in 39 games.


“I thought this was definitely my best season. Just everything was connecting,” says Shawn. “I didn’t think I was even going to be playing hockey this season because I was doing an apprenticeship (cooling and refrigeration) and in the summer I had to get surgery on my hand.”


Shawn now plans to pursue massage therapy in a couple of years.


This season his scoring and penalty killing improved the most. Shawn loved his time in the KIJHL saying everything was awesome and thank the Leafs and Castlegar Rebels organizations for the great career he had. He credits coaches Bill Rotheisler and Mario DiBella for developing him into the player he is now.


“Without them, I probably wouldn’t have had as good an experience in the KI,” says Shawn, who also thanked his parents for driving him to practice when he was younger and training him to get ready for each season.


Leafs assistant coach Adam DiBella says Campbell stepped up this year into a leadership role.


“Shawn led the team with his work ethic and his uncanny ability to put the puck in the net,” says DiBella. “He was a huge reason for the great success we were having in the playoffs.”


DiBella believes Shawn will get every opportunity to produce for his new team.


“Shawn is an exceptional defensive player and is a strong contributor on the penalty kill. He’ll be able to fit into any role he is given.”


With the next chapter taking him to Europe, Shawn is excited to explore the continent more and move up in the leagues. Listed at five-foot-eight, 172 pounds, Shawn knows he will be playing against a lot older men and it will be a lot more competitive. Yet, it’s all he has dreamed about doing.