Campbell off to Boston

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:32 AM ET

He was arguably the most popular player in franchise history.

But now goaltender Pat Campbell is moving on.

Yesterday Campbell, 30, was selected by Boston in the National Lacrosse League expansion draft.

"It's a tough day, learning that I'll be leaving Edmonton," Campbell said. "But I pretty much knew going into the draft that it was a possibility."

Boston took Campbell with their second pick yesterday. The expansion team, which has yet to announce a nickname, took one player from each of the 13 franchises.

Campbell, who was originally taken by the Rush in the fourth round of the 2005 NLL expansion draft from the Rochester Knighthawks, was not protected by the Rush heading into this year's draft.

The Niagara Falls, Ont., native quickly became a fan favourite here, not only for his goaltending, but for his personality.

"We expected we might lose Pat, but we are still very disappointed to see him go," Rush president Duane Vinenneau said in a release. "Pat was a dynamic character and a perfect face for a new team in a city like Edmonton. I'm sure the fans in Boston will feel the same way about him there."

Campbell made 54 saves in the Rush's first franchise win and was voted team MVP in their inaugural season, despite a 1-15 record.

"From my perspective, Pat really helped establish the Rush in the community - not only as the team MVP, but for the way he loved meeting and talking with the fans," said Rush head coach and GM Paul Day. "It's also hard to see him go because he's a good friend of mine."

A graduate of Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont., Campbell began his career with the now-defunct Ontario Raiders. He went on to play with the Toronto Rock, but didn't become a starter until joining the Columbus Landsharks. Campbell played four seasons with Rochester.

"It's very hard to leave Edmonton," Campbell said. "I think last year watching the team play so well without me was initially the hardest thing I ever went through. But leaving a team that I like to think I helped build ... and leaving the dreams we all shared as players, and knowing they are going to be fulfilled without me. is really difficult.

"But being selfish a little bit, I think I would have a difficult time sitting back and watching like I did last year."

Last season Campbell struggled early and was eventually replaced as the starter by Curtis Palidwor, whom the Rush acquired in a trade four games into the season.

Still, Campbell backstopped the Rush to their first franchise home victory, making 39 saves in a 13-12 win over the Philadelphia Wings.

However, that was one of the lone bright spots in what proved to be a tough year for Campbell both on and off the floor.

He was diagnosed with Crohn's disease towards the end of the season.

"It floored me last season," he said. "I don't want to make excuses, but it wasn't diagnosed until later on in the season and certainly I did have a lot of problems during training camp. I was in the hospital once over training camp and I thought it was just exhaustion and dehydration and the pressure of it all.

"In the end, finding out I was sick was a bit of a relief, finding out that I hadn't completely lost it."

Campbell has since been able to control the disease by maintaining a healthy diet and good sleep patterns - something he had trouble doing commuting to Edmonton to play last season.

"Being in the East sort of buys me a couple of extra years in the league, to be honest," Campbell said.


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