A different breed

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:22 AM ET

Goaltenders have always been regarded as 'different.'

Pat Campbell accepts the stereotype.

In fact, he thrives on it because, in his case, the assumption is accurate.

"You gotta think most sane people aren't coming to the rink excited about getting Indian rubber balls whipped at them at 100 m.p.h.," said Campbell, who will mind the net for the Edmonton Rush.

"I'm always a bit on the edge and a bit offside. There are some normal goalies around - present company excluded."

His pre-game ritual is to get a haircut and go for a tan. He builds computers for fun.

He has a good job back home in Niagara Falls, Ont., working for his family's computer firm. But he said he'd love a starring role in an adult film.

Despite his pretty-boy reputation away from the game, Campbell is a fierce competitor.

LOVES TO FIGHT

He also has two trademarks that frighten coaches.

The first concern is that Campbell admits to an attention span that frequently wanders. Secondly, he is a goalie who loves to fight.

In fact, he notched a unique record this past summer for Brampton in the Ontario Senior League.

"I was suspended for more games than I had the opportunity to play in," said Campbell.

"My friend Tim O'Brien and I had a conversation a couple years ago and we decided it was time to find out who would be champion.

"The next game all I brought was a duffle bag and a jersey. We went out and had our tilt.

"It was a good one and it felt great the next day."

There may be a rematch on the horizon. Rush owner Bruce Urban has promised to take out an ad in newspapers calling out O'Brien for Campbell when Edmonton visits the Toronto Rock later this month.

"I love the idea," smiled Campbell.

"I actually dated a girl once who told me I had to fight less because my nose was hooking too far to one side. So if there's any good lefties that are willing to contend, I'm ready to go."

Campbell was the main man for a year in Columbus and then rode shotgun in both Toronto and Rochester for veterans Pat O'Toole and Bob Watson.

But when Day took over the reins of the Rush it was Campbell whom he wanted as his No. 1 - and he made sure he grabbed him in the Expansion Draft.

'MORE THAN READY'

"It's definitely his time and he's more than ready," said Day. "He's 28 now and lacrosse goalies are like NHL defencemen. Once they hit 26, 27 and have some experience in the league they kind of grow into that role."

Campbell is sure he's ready to handle the responsibility.

"When you're carrying the weight of the team on your shoulders, you've got to be ready for good and bad. But to come into this role on this team is really a dream come true," said Campbell, who has twice earned NLL Player of the Week honours during his career.

"I've been training for this for years. Everything will be different. Just getting into my car in the morning will be different because it's a totally difference focus.

"It's a real mental adjustment, but I'm really excited about it."


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