Iditarod rookie Jason Campeau is among the front-runners in The Last Great Race, and it turns out mushing sled dogs isn't his only forte when it comes to athletic excellence.
Campeau, 40, sported some serious hockey chops back in the day.
The Canadian musher from Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, proved a pivotal player for championship teams in the major-junior Ontario Hockey League and in Canadian university hockey. He also briefly played professional hockey.
Campeau played for the North Bay Centennials of the OHL when they won the league title in 1994. In 63 regular-season games, the center racked 31 goals and 39 assists for 70 points. A player who averages in the neighborhood of one point per game is a legitimate scorer in any league, in any era.
The OHL is one of three major-junior leagues in North America – the Western Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League are the other two – that develop more players for the National Hockey League than any other circuits.
To get an idea how big-time the OHL is for players generally ages 16-20, consider that two of its most famous alumni are Wayne Gretzky and Bobby Orr. Current NHLers who played in the OHL include Patrick Kane, Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, Rick Nash and P.K. Subban.
For local perspective, Alaska Aces coach Rob Murray played in the OHL and went on to play in the NHL, and Aces defenseman Corey Syvret also played in the OHL.
After Campeau's junior career, which began with one season in the QMJHL before he moved to the OHL, he played at the University of New Brunswick, which won the University Cup as the champion of Canadian college hockey in 1998. Campeau delivered 17-17—34 totals in 28 games that season to rank fifth on the team in goals and tied for fifth in points.
After college, Campeau played one season in the British Ice Hockey Superleague, earning 7-10-17 totals in 33 games for the London Knights. His last season of pro hockey was the 1999-2000 campaign, when he notched 4-7—11 totals for the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs – obviously one of the all-time great team nicknames – of the old Western Professional Hockey League.
Campeau is doing the Yukon Quest-Iditarod double this year. He finished seventh in the 1,000-mile Quest as a rookie in February.
To check out Campeau's hockey pedigree, click here.
Oh, and to catch up on how he's doing in his Iditarod debut, check out the race standings here.