His dedication to the game was recognized by Hockey Canada on Tuesday when he was given the organization’s Ambassador Award, an award given to those who have an impact on hockey in their community.
The 91-year-old was presented with a Team Canada jersey for receiving the award and was joined on the ice for the presentation by his family including his wife, Marilyn, sons Bruce and Glen (Lisa), and grandchildren Andrew and Lauren.
Despite his age, Campbell still plays recreational hockey three times a week, twice in New Waterford and once in Coxheath.
Campbell was overwhelmed to receive the award.
“I don’t even know if I deserve it,” said Campbell. “It’s an honour to receive this award, but I simply just want to play hockey. I don’t go looking for awards.”
Kelsey Chadwick, co-ordinator for community and brand for Hockey Canada, said she thought Campbell was the perfect fit for the award.
“Hockey people are really great people. I’ve noticed that with travelling across Canada since October, going in and out of rinks across the country,” she said. “Mike Campbell and his family are no different.”
Chadwick was contacted by Blair Joseph, a teammate of Campbell, wanting to know if Campbell was the oldest hockey player still playing in the country.
“Senior leagues are hard to keep track of, so we don’t have all the numbers and ages out there, so I couldn’t give him an answer, ” said Chadwick. “Mike is a very strong community member and I think that’s partially to do with what hockey can bring out in someone.”
Marilyn Campbell said she sometimes she worries about her husband when he ventures to Coxheath for hockey.
“When he gets up in the morning, he just can’t wait to get to the rink,” she said. “I was never really involved in hockey, myself, but I started to be when I married him.”
Campbell was proud to see her husband honoured with the award.
“I was so proud just to have the family there to witness it,” said Campbell. “He didn’t want any pictures, nothing, he just wanted to play hockey. That’s his life.”
Once the hockey season ends, that doesn’t stop Campbell from being active. During the summer months, in preparation for hockey season, Campbell volunteers to mow three graveyards, with a push lawn mower, in his community.
“I consider myself lucky,” said Mike Campbell. “I never smoked, I never drank, and I never had a weight problem. I’ve never taken any medication, so far.”
Bruce Edwards plays hockey with Campbell every week in Coxheath. He said Campbell certainly doesn’t play like he’s 91 years old.
“He’s an inspiration to all,” said Edwards. “It’s gentlemen’s hockey, it’s non-contact, and Mike holds his own out there.
“We have a very good group of hockey players in terms of 60 years and over and Mike is not out of place out there,” he said. “We pass him the puck, he passes us the puck, it’s absolutely wonderful.”
Although he’s in his 90s, Campbell said he doesn’t have any trouble on the ice.
“I never had any knee problems, my legs don’t bother me, so that probably helps me out there,” he said. “The one thing I am surprised about is that I don’t get winded on the ice. I’m grateful for that.”
With the hockey season coming to an end in Cape Breton, Campbell doesn’t have any plans on slowing down or retiring from the game.
“I don’t like to look ahead that far, like everything else, everything comes to an end,” he said. “I just take things day-by-day and live in the present.”
Campbell encourages more seniors to get involved in hockey and to live a healthy lifestyle.
• Name: Mike Campbell:
• Hometown: New Victoria
• Age: 91
• He plays recreational hockey three times a week, twice in New Waterford and once in Coxheath.
• He was honoured was the Hockey Canada Ambassador Award, which celebrates people that have an impact on hockey in their community.
• He credits a healthy lifestyle for being able to continue to play hockey at 91-years-old.