ORONO, Maine — Goal-scoring help is on the way for the University of Maine men’s hockey team.
Brady Campbell, the leading goal scorer in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League, has verbally committed to attend UMaine next fall.
Right wing Campbell has scored 38 goals in 35 games for the Elmira Sugar Kings, including a league-best 14 power-play goals and six shorthanded goals. He also has 29 assists.
“He’s a natural goal scorer,” said Sugar Kings coach Dean DeSilva. “He does things full-speed that a lot of players have to slow down to do. He’s very shifty with the puck, and when he gets to the net, he knows where to put the puck.”
“He has a very accurate shot and a very quick release,” added DeSilva. “And he can release it in full stride, which is a big bonus for him.”
DeSilva also said Campbell is “very strong for his size, as tough as nails and is very good on his feet. And he has a tremendous work ethic.”
The 5-foot-11, 170-pound Campbell, who is recuperating from Wednesday surgery for a broken cheekbone he suffered in practice when he crashed into the crossbar, said there were several reasons for his decision to attend Maine on a scholarship.
“I like the small-town feel and it’s a great place to play hockey,” said the 20-year-old Campbell, who is from Blenheim, Ontario. “It’s the only Division I program in the state. It’s a well-respected program, and it was ranked as having the best atmosphere in college hockey.”
He was referring to a story that appeared in the Wall Street Journal on Feb. 11, 2011.
Campbell, who was also heavily recruited by UMass Lowell, said his surgery went well and he hopes to be back on the ice in four to six weeks.
He has a steel plate and screws in his cheekbone, but he doesn’t envision any problems when he returns to the ice. He won’t be tentative, he said.
“I’m looking forward to being back in time for the playoffs,” said Campbell, whose league only requires a half-visor (face shield) unlike college hockey, which requires a full face shield.
He will be wearing a full face shield when he returns.
Maine ranks 58th among 59 teams in Division I in goal scoring, averaging only 1.52 goals per game.
He said another reason for his decision to attend Maine is he knows the Black Bears are going to be a young team next season, “and the coaches told me I’ll have the opportunity to step in (and play regularly) right away as long as I do what I’m supposed to do.”
He said he intends to get bigger and stronger in preparation for the transition from Junior hockey to college hockey.
His participation at Maine is dependent upon his acceptance into the school and meeting NCAA eligibility requirements.