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Episode 17 · 2 years ago

Team of the Week (Express) | Episode 17

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Staying consistent with the previous teams that have been featured so far, the Seahawks Hockey Club and the New Jersey 87s, Cody Campbell and the Walpole Express are seeking to continue making positive strides each and every year. While sometimes that means replacing almost a full roster on an annual basis, Campbell sees that as a positive in that the organization is fulfilling their main responsibilities and helping players achieve their ultimate goals.


For the 28-year-old, Campbell is happy with what he accomplished in his first season as a Head Coach in the Eastern Hockey League (EHL), and he gives a lot of credit to how the league has defined itself over the years.

Welcome to the e show with Neil Ravn. With over onezero NCAA commitments, the ehl is the proven path to college. Turn it up and learn more about the college placement leader at the division two and three levels. Welcome in to the east show once again. My name is Neo Raven. This is episode number seventeen of the PODCAST and I want to welcome in now the head coach and the GM of the wall pole express, Cody Campbell. Welcome to the PODCAST. Thanks for having me meal. This is the first time I've had you on the real, the revamped podcast, and always spoke. I must have been I think halfway through this season, may around November or so this past year. But obviously a year under your belt now. How do you feel about where you're at as a coach in this league as opposed to a year ago? I mean a year ago I was just trying to piece together a roster and and learn more about dangerous discs of the League and and, you know, really try to try to figure out what exactly the level of play was. I obviously I had seen and recruited the HL before but never worked in it. So over there was an adjustment. A year ago. Today I feel much, much more versed in the League, I guess you can say, in terms of what it takes to be successful and in the type of player that six seeds in this league. And we're going to talk about your history as a coach here in a second, but I like you try and take me through the process of when you be officially became the wall Pool Express head coach. And I don't remember the exact date that you got higher, but it feels like it was around this time or so last year, right. Yeah, I was early March. I officially was offer the job and for about a month pulled kind of double duty between, you know, preparing and and getting ready to recruit team in the eastern Hockey League, whall fulfilling my duties and you Odessa as assistant coach for for the remainder of that season. And it was a little bit of a whirlwind, trying to obviously stay focused on on, you know, helping her, helping our players and Odessa and and trying to win hockey games, but at the same time looking forward to a new step, obviously across country move and and trying to make sure that we had a competitive group on ice this past season and I know you, like you said, you were doing work for both. I'm sure you had some guys that officially confirmed around this time as well last...

...year. When do you think, though, you officially said to yourself you looked in the mirror and said, all right, I got my feet under me, I can now move forward as the Wallpole Express head coach. Was it around this time? was a month from now and May? What would you say? Um, that's a good question. I don't know if I ever felt like the the deep breath was taken until until the season got rolling and we kind of got into into the swing of things and found out that we had a decent competitive group within the league and because, like I said, I didn't I didn't know what to expect in terms of the the level of play day in and day out. Thing Curtis sees of, you know, being being the head coach and and the decisions that come along with that. So it was, you know, a day I took took the process day by day and I don't know if I can pinpoint one one moment where I was like all right, you know, we got this figured out a little bit. I but if if there was a point where we were able, I was able to kind of settle in. It definitely wasn't until after the season got rolling and going back prior to you mentioned Odessa. You had stops with Cedar, rapids, Janesville, your that's a Rut of college. The one thing that you know, when you when you search Cody Campbell and you you look back in the playing career and then the coaching career, the one thing that I always found interesting is your last year of playing was the two thousand and twelve, two thousand and thirteen season, and then your First Year of coaching was the very next year. Had that always been something that you had in the back of your mind, like, as soon as I'm done playing, I'm going to go coach right away? Yeah, I think so. I mean, obviously everybody wishes that they could have played longer and that kind of stuff, but it was it was something that, you know, college season ended, I took it was really a week and a half of, you know, just getting away from it and then started thinking like okay, how how do I stay involved in the game? How do I, you know, start my new path in the game? And three weeks after our our college season ended. I I was I was hired by Odessa and you know, I guess I've never I've never spent any time, at least that I can remember, out of the sport since I started playing. So it's it was something that came naturally to me, something that I want, knew I wanted to do. Obviously wasn't exactly sure when it was going to happen or anything like that, but very fortunate have been given an opportunity...

...and organization and and a League that has highly regarded and, you know, get my feedback coaching here in Odessa. And he did two seasons Odessa, then went to Jeansville, then let to see the rapids and then back to Odessa. was that part of the planners? That just how it worked out? No, I once I got involved in coaching, I you know, obviously your circles change and people that are kind of your mentors. You know, it moves from a playing side to a coaching and a business side. So something that I learned really on and early on in my coaching career. But it was important to have new experiences and learn from from different people and very fortunate to be able to work with some some great head coaches during my times at those other stops and pick up things from from them that ultimately, you know, kind of shape me into into the coach that you know I am right now and have been able to take those things that I learned in those three different places and apply them to how I want our team to play and what I want our culture to be here in so let's pause then to have some funny for a second because obviously with all those stops where there was at as a player as a coach, I'm sure you went into many different ranks over those years. So let's let's get your first as a player, whether it was when you're in the USA shell or at Niagara. Is there a place that, other than your home ice, is there a rank that you went to that you looked forward to that trip more than anything else? Yeah, in in in the USAHL was definitely Lincoln at that time. They were they were perennial contender and absolutely unbelievable barn play in. And then in college it was it was against our I t and off at Ritter arena there and Rochester place. That was absolutely rock and small, smaller rink, but they packed at and we had a good rivalry with them, obviously with the proximity to Niagara. So it was it was a place that I look forward to playing, but it was also place that, I think replaces I you have success in our are always place as you like to like to go back and play, and so we had some some pretty decent success as a team up there and Ritter. And how about as a coach? Obviously in the...

...majority of your time as a coach was spending no dess, as we said, and in that self division there's a lot of miles that you guys spend, you know, on the bus. was there a rank, a particular that you love to go to? All those ranks are difficult to play in for for different reasons. Won't star is it's a little shoe box. They pack it in, it's allowed to the metal seats. That always a fun environment. And then shriefport, especially with them coming back into into the league. That a pro team. They're maybe previously in the in the, you know, early and mid two thousands and then came back into the North American league. They didn't absolutely phenomenal job with their season tickets and making that a really difficult place to to go in and win hockey games. So those those hostile, tough environments to play in. To me we're always always the most fun. And then, you know, coming to the EH shell obviously a big adjustment coming up to New England, but there's a difference in the number of fans we get for a game as well, and I'll never forget one of the stories you told me about that involved, you know, your home rink. Can you tell the fans at home? Can you define what you guys called the carrot crew? WHAT THAT IS DOWN TO ODESSA? Yeah, we so every time we scored a goal and Odessa fans through carrots onto th ice, little rubber carrots, and some of the youth hockey kids there in Odessa, which obviously youth hockey, and you know Odessa Texas as much different than it is here in New England. Those kids would would stumble out there and pick the carrots up and it was something that was fun for the fans, but it drove me absolutely bonkers because we know just scored a goal, maybe have some momentum and and then you got to wait five minutes for the kids to skate around and pick the carrots up and inevitably one of them would would fall and dump their bucket and elect creates all is different issue. So yeah, that definitely something, something different that I'm not complaining about. Doesn't happen. And in the Eastern Hockey League. Is that the longest delay you've had? Like five minutes or so? Is that pretty average? Yeah, yeah, so like an odd Wednesday night game or something and we've kind of wait for him to come out and realize that, you know, none of the carrot crew is here. So when the player would would jump on and...

...shoot the carrots back over over the class and stuff. So yeah, five six minutes was fairly typical. And I'm sure you got hit a few times also. That was more in opposing rinks where they were probably trying to hit somebody on the bench. I don't know if it was always in me. I think they probably put probably were okay if one of one of the bowls or the sting rays hit one of the coaches. And you're from Colorado. We talked about whether it was Fargo or see the rapids when you were playing the USAHLL Niagara when you were in college. All this stops that you've had coaching up until this point, it seems like it's pretty safe to say that you're willing to move anywhere you have to for the support of hockey. Yeah, I've I've seen a lot of a lot of the country. Not always the prettiest places in the world, that's for sure, and fortunately I've got a wife that is incredibly supportive and and willing to to move to wherever it might be for from me personally to continue to to chase my goals. So yeah, that's pretty safe assumption, I think. I think at one point we lived in in five different states and like three or four years or something. So she's been a trooper to say the least. And had you probably have never lived in New England before this, I would assume correct. Nope, never lived up here, but you probably came to play a few games at this in this area. was there any part of it that that turns you off from one of the take this opportunity, or did you see some comparisons in the way to Colorado that made it feel kind of more like home? No, I mean I think for us it was. It was exciting to be able to to live close to a big city and experience that and you know, within that have you know, kind of the small town feel that that walpole provides. But know that you know at the drop of a hat if we want to be downtown Boston or go to the beach, it's it's, you know, a quick thirty minute trip. It's not it's not something that you have to plan an entire weekend for something like that. So that was that was definitely attractive. And then on the hockey side, just being able to consistently be around hockey people is something that that I valued and and and was really excited about coming to New England for. And you're two miles down the road from, I'll say, in my opinion, the best football team in the NFL. But I'm sure that that was pretty cool when...

...you realize how close to that stadium was to Roman arena. Yeah, definitely. I mean at Sundays, Sundays around here, we try to find a lockdown when when the path or are playing at home. I'm I'm a broncos Fan, as was my wife, probably probably a bigger fan than I am for sure, but she's not fraid to to wear broncos Jersey out to the grocery score on it on a Saturday or Sunday. Well, I'm glad to hear that. So then talking about Walpole, now we touched on when you officially got the job and obviously some more time to prepare this year. But when you when you took on the roll and you knew of the recent success that the team and had and nearly a hundred commits since the EHL was formed, did you feel any sort of instant pressure when you arrived? Um No, I went clarify this as pressure. I just I felt like I was stepping into to a sound and stable situation and environment that that has a track record and a history of success, which you know, not all the time are are jobs available like that. You know most of the time it's jobs are available because of, you know, lack of those things that you mentioned. So that definitely gave me some confidence, knowing that this, this was a place where you could build a winner and and ultimately a place that college has no consistently have players that are going to be ready and prepared for for the next level. And when he took on the job, you replacing a coach and John Lynsberry, who at one point was named the CO coach of the year in the EH shell. I'm sure he helps you a little bit, and then Todd Sterling, who still at the wall pull express also want to coach the year award in the EHL. How valuable was it to you to have those two voices still kind of around in the beginning of your time with wall pull to help you get your feet wet? Yeah, I mean todd is. Todd has been a unbelievable resource for me. Being able to work with him consistently, you know, day in and day out throughout the course of the season, has been awesome. And you know, he definitely doesn't ever, you know, stick his nose into anything that we're doing, but always there to offer help and advise whether it's worth recruiting, you know Daytoday, things that happen within a junior hockey team, that kind of stuff. He's been been a great mentor and friend and, like I said, incredibly valuable asset for me to have here this this past season and, you...

...know, continuing through the summer. And you also had an assistant coach. I don't want to Miss Miss Dylan, who is recently out of college himself at Franklin Pierce, which is a school where a number of our players advanced on to how valuable was it to have a guy like that on your staff? Obviously you're coming from a junior league that put more kids probably done and dthree, so there was someone adjustment there. So how valuable was it to have a guy who had just been playing at that level come join you right away? It was awesome. I mean Dylan, Dylan Brock, you know, youth and enthusiasm and, you know, a sounding board for for the players when when they needed it, you know, because they don't always want to go directly to the head coach with things. So that was super valuable. And then, obviously, with him being from the area playing at Franklin Pierce, he was able to teach me some some things about different schools and academic standards and stuff like that that you know he had dealt where in the past, whether it was being recruited or or knowing guys that went to different programs or or Franklin Pierce itself. You know, we ended up having well, Wolford can commit to go there and going was definitely a big part of that. So it was he's he was definitely a valuable, valuable piece of our team this year and excited that he's going to be back next year and continue to learn and grow as a as a coach, and he's he's definitely, definitely was a big asset not only need but our players. And it goes without saying how tough your conference was in particular this past year, but it was pretty consistently are the opinions that guys had of you and your team as the year went on, the wall pool express kept getting better and better. Was it you getting more adjusted to the system? Was the players buying in? Was it the leadership on your team? What was it in particular, if it was one thing that you could pinpoint that major team get that much better as the year progressed? I mean in part it's it's a combination of all those things that you mentioned, but most importantly it was the buy in and and the culture that that our guys created within the group last year and obviously that that's something that is super important to me, that that we have have sound culture and trust with it within our group. But with with this team it was taken to different level and and at the end of the...

...day, the players are the ones that that do it and create the success and and put the work in. As a coach, you just try to to guide them and facilitate the development of different things throughout the course of the season. But they did an unbelievable job. We had an unbelievable captain and Mike Meredith and you know, fortunately, in my first year I felt like it was a real easy group to coach because they all wanted to to buy in, they all wanted to prove in. At the end of the day, they were all here for for the same goal, and that was to win hockey games and and help each other move on to the next step of their career. And speaking of moving on to the next step of the career, you got fourteen kids moving on. It's always one of the interesting conversations they have with coaches around the league at this time is yes, you look back and you look at the commitments, you like that was a damn good year, but now you you also have more spots to fill. As that number increases, do you ever kind of pinch yourself and say, Hey, I wish I had, you know, three or four more guys may be sticking around one more year to kind of carry over some of the some of the consistency, or do you not mind hitting the reset button fully because of the how high that comm a number is. I mean, at the end of the day, no nobody plays junior hockey to you know, when a championship for the team that they end up playing for. That's a by product of things. Everybody's playing junior to get to that next step. And you know, at the end of the year we laughed about this, you know, amongst the team, but because of the number of commits that that it gotten up there and stuff. And at our first meeting I told the guys, I hope we have zero returners next year and after build this thing from scratch again, and we will be pretty close to that here was summer. So that that's the that's the end goal of junior hockey at the end of the day. That's that's my belief. And Yeah, would it be nice to have from guys, you know, come back that had success and stuff, of course, but I wouldn't wouldn't have been doing my job if I if I didn't help fill facilitate the opportunities that that are players ultimately achieved. And I know you just said there it's not about the wins in the loss is really when it comes to junior hockey. So I'm going to talk about a loss. I don't want to spend too much time on this, but with not that many guys returning and the way your season ended last year,...

...do you even then go use the playoff loss as motivation this upcoming year? Or is it really just that much of a clean sleep? Now? I think it's a clean, clean slate. I mean, obviously that stung, and it didn't sting because because we we lost. It's stung because the the group of guys that put so much work in this year weren't going to be able to be rewarded for how much work they put in and all the time and effort that they spent building the culture that we developed here about that was what stung the most for me and for our players. I think. So that at the end of the day, it is that a little bit of motivation for me? Yeah, maybe, but we're going to have a brand new group of guys that and a brand new team that takes on its own personality, so that that's not something that I plan on on discussing very often next season. So go right back to the positives. Then they get off that topic. Since the season ended in the kind of awkward way that it did. We didn't get to actually have the awards banquet, but if we did, I would have introduced you as the first rookie coach and the youngest coach ever to win the ehl coach of the year award. While the loss stung, obviously we will go back to the commitments and in the two thousand eight hundred and thirteen and five record and then winning that award. Have you taken a moment to kind of step back and Pie yourself on the back at all now that that, like I said, as a that is a team award. Like me getting recognized for a Furvad as obviously humbling because it's voted on by by the other coaches in the league. By at the end of the day, and I told our players ass like that, that doesn't know individual success or applete happens with without the group, and they're the ones that put the work and they're the ones that that executed and performed to for us to have the success that we did. And you know, winning coach of the year is as a by product or that. So that's that's something that they should take more pride in than me and I'm sure, though, when you did win that award, you must have gotten a number of guys that reached out to you from from past years. And I know we talked a little bit before this podcasts and this next question. Want to go back to...

...the fund side of things with you. I have to frame it a little bit differently for you because you've only been in the League for one year now. So with the seahawks and the sevens, I had them put together. They're all time line up. So for bills in a bony and from Adam whoie, they each had three years to choose from with their respective teams. Obviously I don't have that to choose from. For you, it just one year. You don't have that to choose from. But with all your stops along the way, if you could, you know, pick a guy from each team and fill the rest from there, could you give the folks at home your all time lineup, including a guy from Odessa, and see the rap is, etc. Yeah, that was something, when you brought that up to me, that I had had to think about a little bit for sure, and kind of gave me gave me a little bit of perspective on on the success that you know some of the players that I've had in the past have went on to achieve and kind of a proud coaches moment for sure. So in that would definitely go with with Jack Lafontaine, who I had in Jamesville. Is a fourth round NHL pick to Carolina and ended up playing for Minnesota go fers college. Just graduated this past year, I believe. Then on D easy one is is Scott Perunavic who had in cedar rapids. He was a second round NHL pick. One on the hopie Baker this year. Just just signed with the Blues won a national championship. It's been awesome to watch the success that he's gone on and had after his year and ceater rapids. Another defenseman would be James Crossman, who I had for two years and Odessa, leading defense and score for that organization. Unbelievable kid and family, somebody that he was probably the first player to reach out after the the coach of the year stuff went out and he's at he's at Brown right now, so right down the road and was able to go see him play a couple of times this past season. And then up front Dawson D Petro who was also in Jamesville. We unbelievable story. Traded for him towards the end of the season. Had nothing going on on the college side of things. Ended up going to western Michigan as a walk on and just signed with the Buffalo Sabers and NHL. So unbelievable story of just Dawson's perseverance and and work ethic and been so excited for for him and so cool to follow his his...

...college career and now into his pro career. Second one would be from from Odessa, Matt Brown, who was a ehl alumni, arguably was that year probably the most dynamic forward in the North American league and then went on played at played a year in the USA Gel and then was a freshman at low this past year. I think he led all all freshman in freshman scoring and hockey east this year. And then from from Walpole, I would have to go with the really a toss up between Tim Wallpez or Jonah Hill dress. Both those guys brought different different things offensively for for us, so that one would be a complete toss up coin flip on who I would pick. And with you on the bench, says the rainy hl coach of the year. That's a that's a pretty good group. So I wanted to make sure you got a chance to answer that, obviously without having too many years of ehl experience under your belt, but it shows you know just how far you've come as a coach and all the different stops that you've had along the way, and it also shows the connections. I remember when Matt Brown was in this league, I was like, this kid is young but, like you said, like he was as dynamic as any player that I've seen come through the EH shell. And then, off of that, the question that I can have you answer that I had billy and Adam eats answer is now that you've gone through the EHL for a year and you're starting off that new clean slate and you're recruiting next year's team with there any players that you faced on teams this previous year that you kind of took a step back and said, I want a kid like that on my team next year? Yeah, I mean that one's easy for me. I think Logan to scanny, you know, was potentially there the most fear and offensive player and read this past year and there's his number. showed it and all the records I he broke and everything else. Star goal scoring is out a premium, especially this past year with how good some of the goalies were and in our conference, and it seemed like week whenever Vermont neither the goal really whenever Logan got a chance. He talked it and he did it and in a lot of different ways. And I know when when we played against them, that was that that line as a whole was a gigantic focus for us. So to me that's a that's a super easy answer. I'll have to watch and see. Maybe this year...

...you'll have the ninety point guy on your team. I hope so. Well, I want to thank you for coming on the the revamp podcasts. As I mentioned, I had you on will. We talked back how about halfway through the season this past year, so obviously a lot has changed since then. We're going through a weird time as well right now, but I wish you the best of that you can stay safe you and your family, and good luck with the rest of the recruiting. Thanks me. I appreciate you having me on. Thanks for listening to the show. Learn more at Eastern Hockey League Dot Org and follow us on Facebook, twitter, instagram and Youtube. Also, be sure to subscribe and get notified when next week's PODCAST is released.

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