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Saturday, Jun. 23, 2018
Never working a day leads Campbell to the Hall of Fame
by Randy Pascal

For Sudbury native Ken Campbell, the love of sports was evident early.

The ability to provide coverage of same, piecing together stories that were often entertaining, intriguing and controversial, would come later in life, even as sports remained the constant.

"There is no doubt that the seeds of my love of sports were sown here, in Sudbury, at Rosemarie Playground," said Campbell, a senior writer with The Hockey News, and one of eight individuals who will be enshrined in the Sudbury Sports Hall of Fame next month.

"Thatís where it all happened Ė thereís was always a game going on," Campbell continued. "It was that boomer generation, where everybody kicked their kids out of the house and said, ďgo do somethingĒ, and you could play any game you wanted to with all of the kids that were around."

Never one to shy away from offering an opinion, more often than not that runs contrary to the mainstream, Campbell has always remained self-deprecating, ready to poke fun at himself even more quickly than he might at those whose mindets run opposite to his own.

It shines through, even as he recalls his first thoughts of pursuing a career in sports journalism. "Basically, it hit me when I came to grips with the fact that I wasnít going to be an athlete, which was pretty early," said Campbell with a laugh. "Seriously, it was likely the latter stages of high school."

"I wanted to go into play by play, maybe be the next Danny Gallivan. I got to Carleton University, and found that I really enjoyed the writing process. Thatís where my strengths were, and thatís where I enjoyed it most."

A short stint in Timmins, shortly after graduation, would be followed by a return to his hometown, enjoying a near-perfect career fit. "Coming back to Northern Life was just such a great experience," said Campbell.

"They didnít have a sports department at that time. It was just a blank canvas Ė I could write about whatever I wanted." And so he began to hone his craft, all while building a sportswriting foundation based on certain key tenets.

"What it all comes down to is the passion," Campbell stated. "If you donít have a passion for it, itís going to show. What I try and take pride in is bringing the readers into the story. To me, you always have to give people something they donít know."

"You have to inform, entertain, break news, provide analysis, all of those things," Campbell continued. "Iím always trying to look at what the different angle might be. Sometimes, that makes me a contrarian, and I fully accept that."

"Itís part of who I am, itís part of what makes some people like me, and some people not. But I always try and go to the less comfortable areas, to ask those difficult questions that not everybody will."

When it comes to dealing with the on-line criticism that is virtually a daily by-product, given the stand Campbell will often make, the father of two possesses a wonderful ability to shrug it all off.

The innate sensitivity, however, is apparent as he discusses both his profession, as well as the acknowledgement of his lifetime of work from the community he calls home. "Iíve been in the business for 30 years now, and I still say that Iíve never worked a day in my life," said Campbell.

"I just canít stress enough how lucky I am to be in the business that I am in. This award isnít the icing on the cake, it "IS" the cake. Itís easily the greatest individual honour that I have ever received, and probably ever will."

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