As the Boston Bruins passed the Stanley Cup from player to player, Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille took their turns raising the National Hockey League’s most prized trophy. Assistant Coach Doug Houda also had his chance to hoist a Cup he coveted for nearly two decades. The three men were connected by their past stints with the American Hockey League’s Rochester Americans and all raised the Cup together for the first time in their careers.
The Bruins won their first Stanley Cup since the 1972 season, defeating the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 in Game 7. The home loss denied the Canucks their first NHL title and kept former Amerks Tanner Glass and Victor Oreskovich from winning their first Cup.
The 2011 Playoffs marked Campbell’s first NHL postseason appearance after being picked up by Boston in 2010 from the Florida Panthers, where he was a third-round pick (67th overall) back in 2002. For the Bruins, Campbell tallied a total of 29 points (13+16) and 93 penalty minutes in 80 games during the regular season, and contributed four more points (1+3) in 25 playoff games. The London, Ontario native also had a commendable career with the Panthers ever since his NHL debut in the 2003-04 season, leaving his mark with 29 goals and 85 points. In 2008, Campbell also reached a pro-career high of 32 points and left in 2010 leading the team in hits with 158. The 6-foot-0, 197-pound center played 11 games for the Amerks for the 2005-06 season, even helping the team reach the playoffs that season with six points (3+3) and 30 penalty minutes.
Fellow offensive skater, Paille, was drafted first round by the Buffalo Sabers in 2002 (20th overall) and recently completed his second season with the Bruins. The left-winger finished with 13 points (6+7) and 28 penalty minutes for the 2010-11 season before recording six points (3+3) in all 25 postseason contests with Boston. This season marked his third playoff appearance, second with Boston. A native of Welland, Ontario, Paille completed four years of Junior Hockey for the Guelph Storm (OHL) and represented Team Canada for two World Junior Championships, bringing home Silver in 2003 and 2004. While skating for Rochester from 2004 to 2007, Paille racked up a total of 77 points (35+42) and 95 penalty minutes in 153 games.
Houda is a 2011 Amerks Hall of Famer, having played and coached in Rochester. Currently in his fifth season as assistant coach in Boston, Houda spent three seasons in the same capacity with Rochester from 2003-06. As a player, he patrolled the blueline for five seasons and was a member of the 1996 Calder Cup championship team. In 284 games in the red, white and blue, the hard-nosed defenseman registered 23 goals, 87 assists and 683 penalty minutes.