Nelson’s Bruno Campese wasn’t looking to leave the Okanagan Hockey Academy.
When the chance to work in the NHL with its newest franchise, Las Vegas, as an amateur scout was presented, he couldn’t pass that up.
“It happened very quickly,” said Campese, who played goalie for the Nelson Leafs from 1977 to 1979 and briefly coached the team during the 2000-01 season. “Late last week I was contacted to see of the interest level. I was extremely interested in something of that nature. We finalized the details on the weekend.”
Campese, who was the general manager of the Prince Albert Raiders in the Western Hockey League, was contacted by Kelly McCrimmon, former GM of the Brandon Wheat Kings, who is the assistant general manager of Las Vegas. Campese has been to Las Vegas as the WHL held its annual meetings there in February and said it’s a fun city.
“They have a beautiful arena. Everything is going to be new and exciting. I think there will be a lot of energy,” said Campese.
Campese said it is a new challenge as scouting full-time in the NHL is something he has not done. Being involved with an NHL franchise, but one from the ground up, gives him an opportunity to grow with a group of people.
“That part of it is pretty intriguing,” said Campese, who now has a new favourite NHL team after growing up and cheering for the Vancouver Canucks.
Campese will be based out of the Okanagan, which will allow him to remain living in West Kelowna. A draft pick of the Boston Bruins in 1982, Campese said his family is excited about the opportunity, especially his son Matthew, who plays for the Kamloops Blazers.
“He thinks it’s awesome,” said Campese, who spent the past year with the OHA coaching the bantam prep team and guided them to the championship game in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League.
“My experience at OHA, it has been so amazing. It’s such a wonderful program,” said Campese. “The people are awesome. I can’t say enough about Andy Oakes (president) and Dixon Ward (vice-president) and the whole staff. It was awesome working there for the year.
“OHA is excited for Bruno and this new opportunity at the NHL level,” said Ward. “His hard work, commitment, and experience was very beneficial to us and we wish him the best of luck in this new venture.”