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LSSU hockey threesome ends year with a 28-hour road trip

Trent Campbell

Nov. 12, 2004

By Lindsey Mechalik, LSSU student intern

The members of the Lake Superior State hockey team have always prided themselves on being a very close-knit group of guys. Sophomore forwards Matt Restoule, Derek Smith, and Trent Campbell became even closer during a 28-hour trip to take Campbell home to Beauval, Sask.

Restoule, Smith, and Campbell decided that a long road trip would be a perfect end to their freshmen year. After completing the last of their final exams, the three set out in Smith's 1992 Topaz. The small car was packed to the max. Jammed into the back seat were all of Campbell's school belongings and one small bag owned by Restoule and Smith.

"The car was packed tight," Campbell said. "The guy that had to sit in the back seat was jammed in with only room to sit. We were just lucky that Restoule and Smith's parents had taken home most of their things the weekend before."

The road trip took the three from Michigan through Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota and north to Saskatchewan. In order to save time, Campbell, Restoule and Smith only stopped to eat and get gas. The only exception they made was in Bemidji, Minn. They made a scenic stop in order to see the statue of Paul Bunyan and the Big Blue Ox. They had planned on making an overnight stop in North Dakota. However, they arrived ahead of schedule and decided to drive through the night. For their first stop, they stayed overnight in Regina, Sask., with Smith's grandparents.

During their long ride, the threesome tried to pass the time by listening to music, but they had to be creative due to a lack of radio stations.

"Smitty was in the backseat sleeping with his discman on," Restoule remembered. "Campbell and I turned off the radio, and we were listening to Campbell's disc man because there wasn't a cd player in the Topaz. So each of us had an ear piece and we were listening to "Hey Ya." We were both singing and dancing. Smitty woke up to us singing at the top of our lungs and dancing crazily to no music that he could hear. He thought we were both nuts, and we all still laugh about it."

The next stop was in Saskatoon, Sask., where Campbell's brother and sister lived.

"We really had a great time when we stopped for a day and half in Saskatoon," Campbell said. "We stayed with my sister and spent some time with some of my friends that also lived there. It was great to see some of my friends from when I played Junior B hockey. I hadn't seen them in three years. After we left Saskatoon, we made the final four-hour trip home."

After such a long road trip, the boys wanted to relax and wind down. They played floor hockey at the local school gym, and Campbell showed them around, teaching them about his native heritage.

"One of the days we were at my house we went up to home reserve, Patuanak," Campbell said. "My dad had a meeting at the band office so we tagged along. My dad showed Smitty and Restoule around the band office and the reserve. We also got a tour of the medical clinic. After the meetings we went to my grandma's house. She made us a great dinner with some caribou and bannock, which is like a special bread."

One of the highlights for Campbell, Restoule and Smith was duck hunting.

"It was really exciting to get to go duck hunting," Smith said. "It was my first time ever holding or even shooting a gun other than a pellet gun. We used a 12-gauge shotgun. I had a great opportunity to shoot a Mallard duck. It wasn't really that far away. The duck started flying away before I even shot the gun. Needless to say, I missed it."

Smith may have missed, but Restoule bagged his first duck, which wound up on the dinner table.

"My mom cooked the duck that night," Campbell said. "We didn't have very much meat, so she made duck soup. She also cooked some small beef steaks since the soup wouldn't be enough. Restoule grabbed some of the steak but not the soup. My mom asked him if he was going to eat some of his duck. He was really confused and said that he already had some on his plate. We all laughed really hard."

Campbell also took Restoule and Smith to the school in his hometown where his mom works.

"We went to the school in Beauval that had grades 1-12," Campbell said. "My mom took us through some of the classrooms. We talked to the kids and they asked us questions about hockey and school. It was a great experience to come back and get to talk to all of the students. It was great for the students to see what can happen if they work hard and to see the kinds of bonds you can form with your teammates."

Before heading back towards Sault Ste. Marie, Campbell, Restoule, and Smith went back to Saskatoon to spend some time with Campbell's sister, brother, and friends. Afterwards, Restoule and Smith took off on part two of their road trip.

"We came back exactly the way we came," Smith said. "We stayed with my grandparents again in Regina, and then drove straight back to Sault Ste. Marie. We picked up the rest of our stuff from school and took off to drop Restoule off at home in Sudbury. I ate dinner at his house and then started for home. Unfortunately, I got delayed because I got lost in Sudbury for 45 minutes because of Restoule's horrible directions. I was so exausted from driving all night that I couldn't make it all in four hours. I had to pull of the road and sleep for an hour before getting home."

None of the three guys will ever forget their journey to Saskatchewan. Restoule had been a little hesitant early in the year to commit to going. Campbell and Smith made him sign a contract promising to go because they were afraid he would back out. He had such a great time he was the first one to commit to a sequel.

"It was really fun for me because it was the longest road trip I have ever made," Restoule said. "It was my first time in most of the states we went through. I hadn't even been to the United States before I started playing hockey here at Lake State. It was also my first time to see Saskatchewan. It was a great experience to be able to spend time with my teammates away from hockey."

Because he also has aboriginal roots, Restoule was very familiar with Campbell's heritage and culture. Smith learned a lot about his roommate.

"The trip was great for me because after the long school year it was great to get away," Smith said. "It was nice to have some time off. I really liked seeing a new culture and learning about Campbell's culture. We had a great time. Hopefully we can make it a yearly tradition and get some more of our teammates to come with us and experience northern Saskatchewan."

Campbell also hopes that the road trip will be a recurring experience.

"I also enjoyed the trip a lot," Campbell said. "My parents enjoyed having the boys come and visit and have invited them back next year. It was nice for me to have my teammates see where I am from and my culture. It was a great way to end our freshman year."

Lake Superior State Men's Ice Hockey
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