As a youngster, Carter Camper had dreams about playing professional hockey. He probably saw himself playing in the Stanley Cup finals, taking the puck on a breakaway and scoring the winning goal for his team.
Earlier this month in Rhode Island, the Rocky River native took another step toward making those dreams a reality when he signed as a free agent with the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League.
I don’t think it’s really hit me yet,” Camper said last Thursday. “When I was younger, this seemed like it was so far away. To actually have the chance to sign a contract is a dream come true.”
Camper, who recently completed his senior season with the Miami University Redhawks, was signed to an entry-level contract, according to Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli in a press release. “According to the release, Camper will report to the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League, the same league the Lake Erie Monsters compete in.
As per club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The former member of the Cleveland Barons and the Lincoln Stars of the USHL will report to rookie camp in July out in Boston.
“As soon as the season was over, my agent and I talked to some teams,” Camper said. “We wanted to see who was interested. That process goes by slow. It was an up and down, nerve-racking week.
“When it was over, it was definitely a big relief,” he said. “Before that, though, there were a lot of contract discussions. Things were pretty much agreed upon before I went out there. We flew out to Providence, and that’s when I signed.”
If his collegiate career was any indication, it won’t take long for Camper to have an impact in the Bruins’ camp.
Camper was a virtual human highlight reel at Miami, finishing as the nation’s active career scoring leader. This past season, he played in 39 games for the Redhawks and racked-up 19 goals and 38 assists for a total of 57 points. He was fourth in the nation in points, third in the nation in assists and third nationally in points per game at 1.46.
In 156 collegiate games, Camper had 69 goals and 114 assists for 183 points. He totaled at least 40 points in all four seasons at Miami, ranking second on the university’s career points list and second in career assists. Camper finished tied for seventh on Miami’s career goals list and tied for third on career game-winning goals with 11.
Camper also ranks third in Miami program history with 31 power play goals. He tied for 18th nationally this past season with nine power play scores and was runner-up in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association in scoring with 39 points.
With numbers like that, Camper played a big part in the success the Redhawks enjoyed over the past four seasons.
Miami made the NCAA Tournament field all four years, including two trips to the Frozen Four in 2009 and 2010. In 2009, Camper and the Redhawks advanced all the way to the championship, losing to Boston University.
This past season, Miami finished 23-10-6, good for third place in the tough CCHA behind first-place Michigan and runner-up Notre Dame. All three teams made the NCAA tourney, with Michigan falling in the championship. Five CCHA players earned Division I All-America honors, including Camper. It was his second mention, the other coming in the 2008-09 season.
There have numerous post season accolades for Camper throughout his collegiate career. This season, the Redhawk captain was finalist for the coveted Hobey Baker Award, which is presented annually to the nation’s top collegiate player. He was also a finalist his sophomore season when he was first team CCHA and tied for third nationally with 12 power play goals.
He again earned first team CCHA honors this past season and was named the league’s Scholar Athlete of the Year. He was the CCHA Player of the Month in October and the league Player of the Week on Oct. 18. He was also a Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award finalist.
But now all of that is behind him and his career as a professional begins.
“Now it’s 100 percent official,” Camper said. “There’s nothing left to do but get ready for rookie camp, and then team camp in September. All the negotiating is over. Now it’s my job to perform. Hopefully I’ll get an opportunity to make the roster.”