2023 Danbury Hockey Ring of Honor: Ed Campbell
Danbury, CT- The first of the three 2023 inductees into the Danbury Hockey Ring of Honor is Ed Campbell. The hard-hitting defenseman grew up in a hockey-mad family in Worcester, MA, and decided the ice would be his path. He got his entry into pro-hockey by being drafted by the New York Rangers with the 164th selection of the 1993 NHL Entry Draft.
Campbell first went to college and led UMass Lowell to two appearances in the NCAA DI Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament before embarking on a 14-season journey in professional hockey that took him from coast to coast in the United States, with two memorable stops in Danbury.
First, Campbell sought out a spot on the roster of the Danbury Trashers of the UHL in the 2004-05 season while playing for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL.
“One of my good friends was Jeff Daw; I went to college with him. And he told me, ‘You should come up here.’ So I talked to Jimmy (Galante) and asked him if I could join the Trashers when my season ended in Bridgeport.”
The Trashers couldn’t sign him for that season, but after leaving the AHL’s Cleveland Barons early in the 2005-06 season, Campbell signed his contract with the famed originators of professional hockey in the Hat City.
“A number of my friends were there and a bunch of guys I had played against were there. It looked like they had a great bunch of guys. And Daw told me ‘The owner, Jimmy, he takes care of the guys. You’re gonna be treated right and we’re trying to win here.’”
And win they did. The Trashers finished with the best record in the UHL’s East Division and rolled their way to the Colonial Cup Final, where they fell to the Kalamazoo Wings. Campbell played 29 games that season and notched 3 goals and 13 assists for 16 points to go along with his 132 penalty minutes, the fourth highest total on the team that season.
After the Trashers closed operations, Campbell continued his hockey odyssey in Utah, then Kalamazoo, and then his first trip outside of North America, going to play for Aquile FVG Pontebba, in Pontebba, Italy.
Campbell took a brief hiatus from hockey when he entered the police academy but determined that it wasn’t for him. So, the hearty skater returned to the ice in the CHL before making a second stop in Danbury, this time with the Whalers.
“That short time I spent with the Danbury Whalers was the most fun I ever had playing hockey,” said Campbell of his time in a Whalers jersey. “The guys were awesome. Everyone was their own individual. The team came together perfectly and we played so unbelievably well together.”
Campbell played 17 regular season games for the Whalers, notching 1 goal and 10 assists for 11 points. He took the ice in all six Whalers playoff games, recording another three assists and lifting the cup as captain of the first professional hockey championship in Danbury’s proud history.
All-in-all, Campbell played professional hockey for 20 different teams in his 14 season adventure and holds a special place in his heart for Danbury.
“What a great city,” said Campbell of Danbury. “What great people. They run their teams the right way. And the fans care so much. I always loved coming to the rink when I played there and loved playing for in front of that crowd.”