By Anne Yilmaz

His body was hurting and his grades were suffering. Chris Campbell was tired, but all he needed was a little time.

Chris, a junior on the Oregon hockey team, started playing hockey when he was eight, and up until last year, he has never missed a season. Year after year, he returned to the ice to be battered and bruised, a side-effect of his physical style of play, so long as it meant playing the sport he loved. One season, he broke his arm three times.

“He’s very strong on his skates,” said his father, Mike Campbell. “He’s a very strong player… A lot of the time when he got injured it was because he was making hard hits.”

However, things were a little different once he entered college. The team traveled more, practiced later and school was more demanding. Chris also needed the grades to be accepted into the School of Journalism & Communication as an advertising major.

“There was an adjustment freshman year with finding that balance between hockey and school work and everything you do outside of the two,” Chris said. “And that balance, I hadn’t quite struck it yet so my grades weren’t what I wanted them to be.”

That school-hockey balance wasn’t the only thing that needed adjusting. Making the jump from 18U AA hockey to the college level meant the guys got larger and the hits got harder, not exactly the best thing for someone who’d been injured every season for the past 10 years.

“There had never been a time where I hadn’t been recovering from something,” Chris said. “I needed a break. I needed a break where I could let my body and my grades recover.”

So Chris took his first-ever break from hockey during his sophomore year. In his downtime, he got his GPA back up, his priorities in order and gave his body a much-needed rest.

And now he’s back.

“It was great to be back in the locker room and see all of their familiar faces,” Chris said.

Chris isn’t the only one happy about his return. As a player who would get in the corners and come out with the puck, his teammates are glad to see him back.

“Chris Campbell is definitely one of the better players on the team,” said Patrick Taylor, Chris’ former linemate. “He adds a little bit more force. You’ve got Michael Luke back there who’s obviously an enforcer on defense and then we’ve got Chris Campbell on forward. He’s definitely a key player to come back for our success this year.”

“He’s a behind-the-scenes player that people might not notice, but he makes things happen,” Taylor continued.

Although he says he is still shaking off the rust from his year off, Chris is excited to be back on the ice and playing for the team he loves.

“I’m really looking forward to playoffs this year,” Chris said. “My freshman year we came up little bit short (after losing to Utah in the Pac-8 championship finals). That thrill of being in a tight, neck-to-neck competition, that’s what I’m looking forward too. That thrill.”

Follow Anne Yilmaz on Twitter @anneyilmaz

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