SHEFFIELD Steelers’ rough-house winger Derek Campbell - who was considering retiring from ice hockey - has washed up at Hull Stingrays.
It is a surprise appointment as the Canadian has always made it clear he only wants to play with winning teams...and the east coast side has hardly been that over the years.
Straight talking Campbell, 31, had been planning to move into the business sector in north America, but it now appears that option no longer presents itself or that the sport, in which he has been a hard-nosed pro since 1996, was too big a pull to resist.
It will be the fourth club in as many years for the forward nicknamed ‘Soupy,’ who is never slow to drop the gloves and fight opponents bigger than himself.
His new player-coach Sylvain Cloutier commented: “I am extremely excited to have Derek on board.
“He is the full package - he can play and put up numbers, which he has proven by being a point a game player in this league, and he is physical.
“Derek is a competitor and they are the kind of players I have recruited this summer and want in my team next season.
“He has won the league twice in a row in Coventry and Sheffield so he knows what it takes.
“He will battle every night for you and will have a bigger part to play with us than he did in Sheffield. I will be counting on him to produce some numbers for us, which he has done in Sheffield, Coventry, Newcastle and Manchester.
“Derek plays with emotion, he plays hard, he has a big heart and he will do anything for the team and his team-mates. It is a really big signing for us.
“I am also glad I now don’t have to play against him! He is a player who makes life hard for you out there and having battled against him for five years, I am now pleased to have him on my side.”
Campbell, who missed too many games through suspension for some fans’ liking last year, was not on Sheffield coach Ryan Finnerty’s shopping list.
‘Soupy’ said: “I am looking forward to playing under Sylvain Cloutier, who has a really good reputation and is one of the best two-way players in the league.
“It’s not the same Hull Stingrays as when I first came to the league. They knocked off some top teams last season and nearly ruined our chances of winning the league.
“They are a middle of the pack team who are moving up and can challenge for a top five place.”