Brian grew up in Strathroy, Ontario, where he attended elementary school at Colborne Street Public School and high school at both Strathroy District Collegiate Institute and Canterbury High School in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. His parents are Ed and Lorna. He has two brothers, Craig and Darryl. Darryl also played pro hockey for four seasons in the ECHL, last for the Mississippi Sea Wolves.
Brian received national attention in Canada in 2003, not for playing hockey, but because of SARS. Brian’s sister-in-law Vagia, who works at Toronto‘s Mount Sinai Hospital visited him on March 24, 2003. Shortly after, she started showing SARS symptoms and was subsequently hospitalized. This led to the quarantine of both Brian and then teammate Rhett Warrener. Campbell missed three games before being cleared to play again. Neither player had any SARS symptoms.
He goes by the nickname “Soupy” because he shares his last name with the name of the Campbell Soup Company.
Campbell grew up playing minor hockey in his hometown of Strathroy, Ontario and played AAA hockey for the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs Bantams in 2003-04. In 2004-05, Campbell signed with the Petriolia Jets Jr.B. (OHA) of the Western Ontario Hockey League.
Following his season with the Jets, Campbell was drafted by the Ottawa 67’s. Interestingly, the 67’s first round pick that season was Nick Boynton who would end up being a defense partner with Campbell for four seasons in Ottawa. The two reunited 15 years later as teammates with the 2010 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.
Brian was taken by the Ottawa 67’s in the OHL as a third round draft pick in the 1995 OHL Priority Selection. In 1998–99 he won the Red Tilson Trophy as the OHL’s Most Outstanding Player. He also won the Max Kaminsky Trophy as the OHL’s Defenceman of the Year and the William Hanley Trophy as the OHL’s Most Gentlemanly Player, and to top it off Brian was also awarded the CHL Player of the Year.
He was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres as their 6th round pick in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. He played his first game for the Sabres in the 1999–2000 season, and stayed with the team, wearing number 51, until February 26, 2008 when he was traded to San Jose. During the NHL lockout in 2004–05, he played for Jokerit in Helsinki, Finland and won the silver medal in the SM-liiga Finnish championships.
On January 9, 2007 he was the leading vote getter amongst Eastern Conference defenceman for the 2007 NHL All-Star Game, earning him his first All-Star appearance. As a result of the Sabres rotating captaincy, Brian was named an alternate captain for the month of November 2007 and captain for the month of December under the Sabres 2007–08 rotating captain and alternate captains system. Brian was selected again in 2008 NHL All-Star team.
San Jose Sharks
The 2007-2008 season was the final season Campbell was under contract with Buffalo. Since the Sabres were fighting for one of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, his future with the club became a highly spectulated topic. It was speculated on whether the Sabres would keep him in efforts of a playoff run, or whether they’d trade him in exchange for long term assets. Finally, on February 26, 2008, the last day of the NHL trade deadline, the Sabres traded Campbell, along with their 7th round draft pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft (194th overall-Sharks picked right winger Drew Daniels) to the San Jose Sharks for forward Steve Bernier and their 1st round pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft (26th overall-Sabres picked centre Tyler Ennis). The Sharks were eventually eliminated in the Western Conference Semi-Finals by the Dallas Stars. Campbell became a free agent at the conclusion of the season.
Brian also led the league during the 2007–08 NHL season in games played as one of only two players to appear in 83 games, or one more than a team’s full schedule, as based on his trade to San Jose (the other being Jeff Halpern.) Campbell was named a member of the NHL Competition Committee on April 21, 2008.
On July 1, 2008, Campbell signed an 8 year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks for roughly 7.1 million dollars a year. Fox Chicago reported that Campbell chose to sign with the Blackhawks despite allegedly receiving better contract offers from other organizations. He played in all 82 of Chicago’s regular season games in the 2008-09 NHL Season, scoring seven goals to go along with 45 assists. He contributed two goals with eight assists in 17 playoff games that season as Chicago advanced to the Western Conference Finals, where they were eliminated by the Detroit Red Wings.
On March 14, 2010, Campbell was injured in a boarding incident caused by Washington Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin. Ovechkin was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct for boarding, while Campbell did not return to the game. Campbell sustained a broken clavicle and broken rib, and was expected to miss 7–8 weeks. Despite this, Campbell managed to return by Game Four of the first round playoffs against Nashville, igniting the team to a three game win streak to knock Nashville out of the playoffs in six games. Campbell had played in 388 consecutive games prior to the injury. The Blackhawks won game 4, 3-0, to even the series at 2-2. Campbell recorded the lone assist on Patrick Kane‘s overtime game winner over the Philadelphia Flyers as the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup on June 9, 2010.