The Topeka RoadRunners have announced defenseman Trevor Campbell has committed to the University of Alaska-Fairbanks (CCHA) for coming fall.
He’s the first player who competed in last month’s NAHL Top Prospects Tournament to commit to a Division I school after the event.
Campbell, a native of Kansas City who began the season with the Traverse City North Stars, has two goals and 18 assists in 44 games overall this season.
“We talked about what schools might be a good fit for me, and UAF was one of them,” Campbell said of his conversations with RoadRunners head coach Scott Langer and assistant R.J. Enga. “I sent them a letter of interest and they wrote back, saying they were in the market for one more defenseman.
“They asked for some game film and then, after the Top Prospects Tournament, they contacted me asking for transcripts and other information. and, this week, they made me an offer and I accepted it.
“Someone was really watching over me,” he added. “If I hadn't sent that first letter, none of this may have happened.”
UAF was not the only school that had interest in bringing Campbell aboard, but it was the best fit for a few reasons.
“The academic program is perfect for me,” said Campbell, who played in the North American Prospects Hockey League (PHL) with the Lansing Capitals’ 18U team. “I want to go into engineering and they have one of the best engineering programs in the country."
The fact that the Nanooks play in the powerhouse CCHA was a huge selling point, too.
"It's always been my dream to play in the CCHA and the offer to play for such a prestigious school is a dream come true for me,” said Campbell.
“I left home to play in Michigan at a young age and my parents haven't been able to see me play much at all,” he added. “Being close to family not only in the final year of juniors, but also during the whole process of getting into college, has been unbelievable. Their support has been amazing."
He also credits Langer and Enga for their contributions.
"We have the best coaches anyone could ask for,” said Campbell. “They not only work on every aspect of your game in an instructive and encouraging manner, but they also work exhaustively on the phones to colleges and scouts to give us all every opportunity to succeed. I can't thank the coaches enough.”
In 2009-10, Campbell was a part of a Traverse City team that won the North Division title and advanced to the Robertson Cup Championship Tournament. He made the trip, but never played.
"It was frustrating, to say the least,” Campbell said.
Now, he has a chance to return to the tournament with a host-RoadRunners team he says controls its own destiny.
"We feel a sense of responsibility to our coaches, fans and the organization as a whole,” said Campbell. “We work well together and push each other with everyone striving for a common goal. We're prepared to do whatever it takes to win.”
No player advances to Division I hockey without some helping hands along the way, and Campbell is quick to recognize those who assisted him.
“If it wasn't for all the support my parents and brothers have given me, than none of this would have been possible,” said Campbell. “I’d like to thank the Topeka organization, too, everyone from the owners, Mr. and Mrs. Stone, to the coaches, Scott Langer and R.J. Enga, to my teammates, and the fans.
“My teammates made me feel so comfortable when I got traded here and made that whole process very easy. I also want to thank my billet families: The Riggins, Karen Tosiello and John Gunther for opening their homes to me and supporting me.
“My Midget coach, Dean Dixon, of the Capitals has really helped me through all of this, too, and has always been there for advice. He actually was the one who moved me from forward to defense so, if it wasn't for that decision, I wouldn't be where I'm at today. I owe a great deal to him.
“I also want to thank The Green family. When I moved to Michigan, they took me in and made me feel a part of the family. If I ever needed anything, they were there for me and I'm grateful.
“I also want to thank (North Stars owners) Raj and Rick Wiener for everything they did for me while in Michigan.
“I lastly want to thank God for the abilities He gave me and all the people He brought into my life to make this happen,” Campbell added. “All of these people I can't thank enough and are the reasons why I accomplished my dream.”
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)