Nelson's Bruno Campese switches gears on coaching career, takes OHA job
It didn’t take Nelson’s Bruno Campese long to find a new job in hockey.
The Nelson Minor Hockey grad, who spent the past eight seasons at coach and GM of the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League, has agreed to be head coach of the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton.
The announcement was recently made on the Okanagan Hockey School website.
“We are very excited to have Bruno Campese join our organization,” said OHA vice-president Dixon Ward.
“We have prided ourselves on the quality and expertise of our hockey staff and the addition of Bruno only increases that level. With his wealth of playing, coaching, and management experience at the Junior A and Major Junior level, Bruno will be able to provide our young athletes with the knowledge and experience that they will need to move to the next levels.”
Prior to joining the Raiders, Campese spent three seasons as the head coach and director of hockey operations for the Penticton Vees (BCHL).
From 2002-2004, he was an assistant coach with the Calgary Hitmen (WHL) after spending two seasons as the head coach with the Trail Smoke Eaters (BCHL) as well as a brief time as coach and GM of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s Nelson Leafs.
“I am excited to join Okanagan Hockey and be part of its operation in Penticton,” Campese, who also has a Master’s Degree in Education from Eastern Washington University, said on the OHA website.
“The Okanagan Hockey program and facilities are second to none and I look forward working with an excellent staff.”
During his playing days, Campese was selected in the 12th round, 249th overall, by the Boston Bruins at the 1982 NHL Draft.
He spent two seasons as a goaltender with the Penticton Knights (BCHL) before playing one season with Northern Michigan University (NCAA).
Campese also played two seasons in the Western Hockey League, ultimately winning the Memorial Cup in 1983 with the Portland Winterhawks.
After his junior career, he spent 14 years playing professionally in Europe, including eight seasons with the Italian National Team, where he represented his country on multiple occasions at the World Championships and also at the 1994 Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway.
During his time with the Raiders, Prince Albert had their struggles on the ice, making the playoffs in three of Campese’s eight seasons.
However, Prince Albert did qualify for post-season action the past two seasons prior to the 2014-15 campaign.
And this season the Raiders deserved better.
After going 35-32-5 in 2013-14 and suffering a second-straight first-round exit, the Raiders, Campese and their fans looked forward to this season, knowing they would have two of the WHL’s premier players — defenceman Josh Morrissey and forward Leon Draisaitl — on their roster.
But Draisaitl, the third-overall pick in the NHL’s 2014 draft, opened the season with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers.
And the Oilers didn’t want their draft pick to return to the Raiders, instead saying Draisaitl should play for the Kelowna Rockets.
Instead of fighting a losing battle, Campese traded Morrissey and Draisaitl to the Rockets.
Kelowna won the WHL championship before losing 2-1 to Oshawa in overtime in the Memorial Cup final Sunday.
Campese decided to move on in hockey and take wife Maria and son Matthew to Penticton to work with the Okanagan Hockey Group.