The Nelson Leafs’ scoring leaders will be wearing different jerseys next season, and one of them will have to learn a new language too.
Shawn Campbell, who led the Leafs with 31 goals during the last regular season, has signed a deal with the Stuttgart Rebels of the Regionalliga Süd-West, the fourth highest division of hockey in Germany.
The 20-year-old forward was aging out of Junior B hockey when the Leafs’ season was abruptly cancelled during the playoffs by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He was a key part of Nelson’s offence, finishing with 19 assists and 50 points in 39 games.
The Castlegar native made his KIJHL debut with his hometown Rebels during the 2015-16 season. He had 82 goals and 77 assists in 163 career games in the league.
Campbell won’t be the only Leaf alumnus playing in Europe next season. Geoff Kinrade, who played for the Leafs from 2001 to 2003, went on to play for teams in the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Russia. Kinrade is currently playing for Severstal Cherepovets in the Kontinental Hockey League.
Reid Wilson and Alek Erichuk meanwhile are also moving on.
Wilson has committed to play for the University of Jamestown Jimmies in North Dakota.
The 19-year-old forward made a massive leap last season, leading the Leafs in scoring with 30 goals and 45 assists in 47 games. His 75 points put him third overall in league scoring, and were a 29-point improvement over his 2018-19 season.
Wilson, another Castlegar native, also began his KIJHL career with the Rebels. He had 65 goals and 78 assists in 140 games.
Erichuk will move up to Junior A next season after committing to the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials.
The 19-year-old defenceman had seven goals and 18 assists in 29 games last season, and nine goals and 28 assists in 72 career KIJHL games.
Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.