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NHL Bloodlines: Cameron Recchi

Like many sons of NHL players, Cameron Recchi grew up at the rink. A huge perk for kids in that situation is to be able to go to work with your dad and hang out in the dressing room around superstar hockey players, even though you might be too young to fully appreciate it.

Cameron’s father Mark Recchi is a three-time Stanley Cup champion whose NHL career spanned 23 years. When Cameron was born in 2001, Mark was with the Philadelphia Flyers and started bringing his son to the rink shortly after.

“He was around the room a ton,” said Mark. “He’s always been a part of it. He would come to practices, come to morning skates, come to games. The trainers were always awesome with him and put him to work to help with the guys. Obviously, my teammates were always really good with him too. We have lots of cool pictures of him skating with the guys and hanging out with them.”

During the 2005-06 season, Mark was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes and that’s when those memories really start to kick in for Cameron, who was just four years old at the time.

“When I was younger, Cam Ward, the goalie for the Hurricanes, would always stay out late at practice and I would put my skates on and he would let me rip on him for a little bit,” said Cameron. “I would shoot some pucks on him and take some breakaways. That was one guy that really stuck out to me.”

“Later on, when my dad was in Pittsburgh, he got to play with [Sidney] Crosby and getting to meet him and seeing his career take off was really cool. He was always awesome towards me. I’ve gotten to be on the ice with him a couple times and he’s just an awesome guy and mentored me a little bit.”

Needless to say, for someone growing up in that situation, chances are they are going to want to follow in their dad’s footsteps and get onto the ice as soon as they can. So it was no surprise that, from an early age, Cameron just wanted to play hockey.

“There are pictures of me when I was two or three years old with skates on, walking around the house,” he said. “It was the only thing I wanted to do. When I got home from school, I would grab my mini stick and start shooting right away. I fell in love with it immediately.”

Mark won a Stanley Cup that first year in Carolina, the second cup of his career. After that, there were stops in Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Tampa Bay, but he ended up playing his last years in the NHL with the Boston Bruins. In his final season in the league, he was an important part of the Bruins 2011 Stanley Cup championship and got to cap off his career winning hockey’s ultimate prize for a third time, while still remaining a key offensive contributor to the team.

By that time, Cameron was 10 years old. Even though he had already been a part of a Stanley Cup celebration before, the 2011 win was extra special to the Recchi family because he was old enough to really appreciate and understand the significance of the moment.

“In 2011, he really understood what the game was all about and what the Stanley Cup was,” said Mark. “That was a really neat thing, to see your kids be a part of that. There’s so much excitement and enthusiasm and they know exactly what it is. Just watching them in the dressing room after the game and just really enjoying it was special because you know he really understands it.”

While Mark was winning Stanley Cups and racking up points in the big leagues, Cameron was carving out his own hockey path. He began in minor hockey programs in Pittsburgh and eventually ended up at Cushing Academy, a prep school in Massachusetts. He spent two years there from 2016 to 2018, then played one season in the Notre Dame Hounds U18 program, before starting his junior career with the Maryland Black Bears of the North American Hockey League last year.

When it came time to decide where to play this season, Cameron and his family made the choice to come out west and play for the Salmon Arm Silverbacks of the BCHL.

Mark is from Kamloops, B.C. and is part of the ownership group of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, so he familiar with the area. He is also familiar with Silverbacks head coach Tyler Shattock, who played four seasons with the Blazers during his playing days.

Mark himself also had a brief stint in the league when he played for the Langley Eagles in 1984-85, back when the league was known as the BCJHL.

“We made a couple calls and decided that Salmon Arm was the right fit,” said Mark. “We wanted him to get into a place for a couple years where he could really start to thrive and take off. He wants to play as a 20 year old and come back next year to play a full year of junior and be a leader.”

Cameron was in full agreement that Salmon Arm would be a great fit for him.

“I really like the atmosphere here and the drive that everyone has,” said Cameron. “Everyone works hard. Everyone comes to the rink everyday and looks to get better and that’s the type of person I am. That’s what I pride myself on.”

Since his retirement in 2011, Mark can now be found behind the bench as an NHL assistant coach. This year is his first with the New Jersey Devils after a stint with the Penguins, where he added two more Stanley Cups to his collection as the team’s development coach.

Despite being on the other side of the continent, Mark still finds a way to watch all of Cameron’s games. The two have a great relationship and Mark often finds time to share some wisdom with his son after watching one of his games.

“I do talk to him about little things, but he self-assesses his games really well, so I don’t have to say too much,” said Mark. “There will be little things that I’ll see, if he’s shooting the puck and fading away on his shots and stuff like that. I’ll say it to him and he’ll realize it right away.”

Cameron appreciates the guidance from his dad and appreciates the level of knowledge he possesses, but at the end of the day, their father-son relationship is the most important thing.

“I think we’ve always been super close,” said Cameron. “In the summers, we golf a lot and just get away from the rink and not talk as much about hockey. That balances out the real life with the hockey.”