With Southwestern Ontario having enjoyed a renaissance of elite women’s hockey, highlighted by the tremendous achievements of talents suiting up for schools such as Guelph, Laurier, Waterloo, Western and Windsor, perhaps the most compelling legacy belongs to goaltender Kelly Campbell. Leading the Western Mustangs to the Golden Path Trophy in 2015, a first in school history, it signified a crowning achievement for a local legend, whose body of work also includes international play with a gold medal at the 2013 Winter Universiade.
Remaining involved with the game, Campbell’s journey has evolved into one built on coaching and instruction. Committed to providing top-notch tutelage, Campbell has simultaneously added the title of entrepreneur to her sporting resume. As the co-founder of Goalie Detail, Campbell is bringing her expertise and sharing her knowledge with a new generation of promising yet prodigious talents.
Working in collaboration with co-founder, and fellow goaltender Paul Gibson, the chance to be part of Goalie Detail has developed into a labor of love for Campbell. In discussing the obstacles of procuring instruction during her formative years, Campbell brings a remarkable sincerity to this venture. Employing empathy, she understands the issues of cost and availability, focused on establishing an important and reasonable resource for parents.
“Having grown up as a goalie I experienced first hand the challenges of finding high quality affordable goalie instructors. When I began working with goalie coach Dave Rook when I was younger I quickly realized the benefit of having a goalie specific coach.
Unfortunately, with budget restrictions organizations face, parents are often tasked with finding and paying for their own goalie coaches. We wanted to create an affordable option for parents while still providing elite goaltender instruction.”
Mirroring Campbell’s amazing career, where she rewrote numerous Mustangs goaltending records, along with honors as a First-Team All-Canadian and Western’s Female Athlete of the Year Award, Paul Gibson also brings his own accomplished resume to Goalie Detail. Having also competed at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport level with the Ryerson Rams, where he was recognized twice as an Academic All-Canadian, Gibson holds the Western Ontario Hockey League’s records for most games (132) and most wins (66), both achieved with the St. Thomas Stars, where he currently serves as goaltending coach.
Taking into account that Gibson also has his own Southwestern Ontario roots, the collaboration between the two is not only ideal, it is one built on a genuine appreciation for the position. With an element of familiarity, Campbell was confident that such a venture had potential to succeed. Mentioning that the admirable ambition to launch a school had been a topic of consideration for significant time, it was a project that has reached its fruition to great satisfaction,
“I have known Paul Gibson (Gibby) for years! A few years ago he approached me to start a goalie coaching company in the St Thomas area with him. I always kept it in mind and when I finally finished up school we decided it was the perfect time to launch our business.
He has been working under the Goalie Detail name for about the last 8 months or so, and has begun building up our reputation. I’m very fortunate to have a business partner who shares my passion for goaltending and who is working very hard to create demand and build our brand.”
Having already established multiple clinics, achieving the reality of providing training and tutelage to a group of eager students, it is a privilege that Campbell does not take for granted in her role with Goalie Detail. With a sparkling career defined by the pinnacle of being a champion, it is the same objective that Campbell hopes to instill within her students.
“With Goalie Detail I hope to pass along my playing experience to the younger generation and try and make the goalies' dreams into realities! We hope to build the brand into a reputable company that goalies at all levels can turn to in order to become elite goaltenders!”
Possessing great potential for growth, the results so far have been most encouraging for Campbell. The chance to work with the younger goaltenders is more than a source of rejuvenation. In seeing the dedication exerted by these pupils, it is providing ample motivation for Campbell, spurring her to satisfy the assiduousness in their goals for a bright future.
Also lending her acumen through work with teams, it is another avenue for Campbell to enjoy the results of her labors. In discussing the improvement that she has already seen with several of her students, there is a proud sense of achievement. Sharing in their hockey journey, enhancing the feeling of teamwork, while building on her own incredible hockey legacy, Campbell embodies the potential for the stars of women’s hockey to remain in the game through such important roles,
“I have really enjoyed seeing young goaltenders' hard work ethic and the rewards that come with it! There are a lot of very talented goalies coming up the ranks and what they often lack is proper goalie coaching.
Coaching, unfortunately, can be the difference between being a goalie at a AA level and playing at a C level. I have teams that I work with on a weekly basis and the improvement that I have seen and the changes in the goalies’ confidence levels makes it all worth it!”
Balancing this newest chapter in her hockey career along with a focus on a career for the long-term, the studious and determined Campbell also becomes part of a unique sorority. Currently training with the aspiration of becoming a firefighter, she is helping to reshape cultural convention.
Of note, the last few years have seen a significant rise in the number of hockey heroines that have taken on roles in this exciting career. Among them are former CWHL alums such as Amber Bowman (who appeared on The Dr. Oz Show in December 2017), Amanda Shaw, who also gave her time to Hockey Helps the Homeless, and Brampton Thunder alum Ashley Pendleton.
Somewhat related is the impact of former hockey players working as paramedics, including former Canadian national team competitor Amy Turek, former Guelph Gryphons star Amanda Parkins and Clarkson Cup champion Cherie Hendrickson.
Campbell, who was selected 62nd overall by the Brampton Thunder in the 2016 CWHL Draft, adds her name to this list of wondrous women, engaging in an empowering occupation, simultaneously inspiring others to follow their dreams. Discussing what it means to be part of this fascinating chapter in the game’s lore, her empowering confidence rises to the surface, testament of how Campbell is an inspiration on and off the ice:
“I am really excited to be pursuing a career as a firefighter! It seems like such a perfect fit for me. I spent my entire minor hockey career as the only female on my hockey team and my passion for health and fitness has helped prepare me for this position. Unfortunately, with it being such a male dominated field, often females overlook as a possible career option.
It is inspiring to see females moving up the ranks within the industry, however there is still opportunities for females within the industry. It is not a career for everyone, but hopefully more females can see it as a viable option and not be afraid to pursue it!”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Photo credits: Matt Hiscox