When Brian Campbell returned to the Blackhawks last summer he made it clear that he wanted to stay and raise his family in Chicago. Campbell’s playing days are officially over, but his time with the Blackhawks is not.
Campbell announced his retirement on the Steve Cochran Show on WGN Radio 720 on Monday morning, adding that he’ll join the business side of the Blackhawks. The team said Campbell will be working with the Blackhawks “in the marketing community and [with] youth hockey initiatives.”
The veteran defenseman had two stints with the Blackhawks. He was part of the 2010 Stanley Cup team before he was traded to the Florida Panthers in the summer of 2011. Campbell signed a one-year deal with the Blackhawks last July.
The 38-year-old Campbell said the decision to retire was a bittersweet one.
“The first time you say it out loud, it hurts, but I’m excited,” Campbell said of his upcoming off-ice work with the Blackhawks. “I know I could play physically. Mentally I’m done with it a little bit. It’s a grind. I played 18 years now of pro hockey, I’m tired and a little done with that. I have two little girls… I’m going to be putting them in the forefront a little more. That’s what I looked at.
“I’m excited to stay with the Blackhawks, that’s the No. 1 thing I wanted to do,” Campbell continued. “I’m going in to work on the business side. I want to learn and grow with it. I’ll work my way up in that organization. There’s a lot of good people, so I’m excited for that opportunity.”
Returning to Chicago was key for Campbell last summer. It’s where he and his family call home. To stay here with the Blackhawks in an off-ice capacity is the perfect finale for him.
“That’s why I came back, that’s why I want to be part of the organization. Leadership has been good to me,” Campbell said. “I’ve worked hard and that’s what I want to do is continue to grow, the fans to get more excited. It’s just fitting. for me. It worked out perfectly.”
One day after finalizing the protocols for Phases 3 and 4, the NHL and NHL Players' Association announced Monday that they have reached a tentative agreement on the Return to Play plan and Collective Bargaining Agreement extension that runs through the 2025-26 season and includes transition rules and a new critical dates calendar.
The tentative agreement is now subject to approval by the NHL's Board of Governors as well as the NHLPA's Executive Board followed by the league-wide NHLPA membership vote, which means the process could take roughly three-to-five days to finalize. Until then, it's only unofficially official.
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.
The NHL released three key dates in advance of the Return to Play plan and CBA ratification:
- July 13 — Formal training camps open
- July 26 — Teams travel to hub cities
- Aug. 1 — Start of qualifying round
If all goes as planned, Blackhawks training camp will open at Fifth Third Arena exactly one week from Monday before the team heads to Edmonton, where they will take on the Oilers in a five-game play-in series.
On Monday, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews skated with teammates at the Hawks' practice facility for the first time since the NHL paused on March 11.
Teams have been allowed to hold small, voluntary group workouts since June 8 in accordance with the NHL's Return To Play plan. Blackhawks players first started showing up at Fifth Third Arena in Chicago on June 10.
Click to download the MyTeams App for the latest Blackhawks news and analysis.
Patrick Kane and goalie Malcolm Subban, who have been regularly participating in the on and off-ice workouts since they began, were also on the ice with Toews Monday.
Related: Patrick Kane, several Blackhawks return to practice facility
Training camps are scheduled to start on July 13 for teams competing in the NHL's 24-team playoffs held in Edmonton and Toronto, the two hub cities.
The postseason, which has the Hawks facing the Oilers in a best-of-5 play-in series is slated to begin August 1.