Veterans Day Extra Motivating for CampbellNov 10, 2015
When he was 19 years old, Jack Campbell’s trainer gave him a book to read for the summer called Fearless, about the Navy SEALs.
He read it twice, and the Texas Stars’ goaltender was hooked from that moment on.
“We both read it together and at the end of it he gave me these dog tags and then I just kind of got obsessed with the SEALs.”
Having spent the previous four seasons in net for the Texas Stars, the Michigan native isn’t shy about wearing his passion for the U.S. military on his sleeve.
“I don’t really have too many things I’m keen on, but the military is one thing that I picked throughout my life where it just continues to wow me. I just appreciate everybody that’s in it.”
This season Campbell chose to take things a step further. He wears his passion on his mask.
“I put Chris Kyle on my mask. Obviously, he had the movie out last year and the book. He’s just a true American hero, and he’s from Texas so I thought that was really cool and special.”
The 23-year-old goaltender suffered a hand injury during the preseason which delayed the start to his 2015-16 campaign. It’s fitting that his first start of the year comes on a Veterans Day matchup against the San Antonio Rampage with his new mask design.
Kyle was born in Odessa, Texas in 1974. After a career in professional rodeo bronco riding, he entered the Navy SEALs training program in 1999 and served four tours of duty within the Naval Special Warfare Command as a sniper. With 160 confirmed kills, Kyle is considered the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history and was honorably discharged in 2009. His autobiography, American Sniper, was published in 2012 and an Oscar-nominated movie, directed by Clint Eastwood under the same title, was released in 2014.
Kyle was killed by another former Marine at a Texas shooting range on February 2, 2013.
“As much as I read it, to be wowed by what our men and women are doing overseas and in our own country fighting for us, and the training that the special operations as well as the military do, it really makes me more motivated and helps me.”
The Dallas Stars goaltending prospect worked with artist David Gunnarsson of Sweden in designing his new head gear.
“The skull is what he put on his uniform, him and his guys… As much as I know about the book and the movie, [Gunnarsson] adds a lot of great detail.”
One side of Campbell’s mask features an image of Kyle’s bearded face set as the background behind his silhouette in full combat gear. Above the face cage is a second image of Kyle firing a rifle, and below is the U.S. Navy’s Special Warfare insignia, also known as the SEAL Trident. The other side of the helmet features the Dallas Stars circular crest logo over a black background.
“I always do the team theme on one side too, and I chose to make it all dark because I feel like [Kyle] got his hands dirty and was just a warrior so I tried to make it as intimidating as I could.”
Campbell was assigned to Texas over the weekend after he began the season in training camp with the NHL’s Dallas Stars. Now, the former first-round pick is ready to take over the regular goaltending duties in Cedar Park as the Stars try to navigate what has been a competitive Pacific Division in the AHL to start the year.
Texas hosts the San Antonio Rampage on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Cedar Park Center. In honor of Veterans Day and in partnership with the team’s corporate partners and season ticket holders, members of the military, veterans and their families can receive free tickets to Wednesday’s game. Tickets can be requested by emailing [email protected] or calling 512.GO.STARS.