Steven Kampfer a Michigan Man, But Admits Ties to Ohio State As Bruins Visit Columbus

Steven Kampfer a Michigan Man, But Admits Ties to Ohio State As Bruins Visit Columbus WILMINGTON, Mass. — Steven Kampfer knows he's heading into enemy territory on Tuesday, but there will be a few friendly faces on hand beyond his Bruins teammates.

The rookie defenseman hails from Jackson, Mich., and graduated from the University of Michigan in 2010. That makes Tuesday's trip into the heart of Ohio State country when the Bruins take on the Columbus Blue Jackets an interesting journey for Kampfer.

He heads to Ohio wearing enemy colors again, but Black and Gold don't rile up the locals quite like Maize and Blue, and Kampfer will have some supporters on hand as well. He expects several family members and friends to make the trip down from Michigan, and he even has some relatives who crossed over in the border war and became Buckeyes. It all adds up to make this a very different trip to Columbus than what he experienced the previous four years as a Wolverine.

"I guess it will be," Kampfer said after practice Monday before the team departed. "It's different because I had family that went to Ohio State, so I'm kind of torn there when it comes to everything, but I bleed Maize and Blue."

Kampfer's allegiance to Michigan goes beyond hockey. He's a Michigan hoops fan too, even if the university's most memorable teams in that sport came when the 22-year-old was still a toddler.

"I loved that Fab Five documentary that was on [Sunday] night," Kampfer said of the ESPN 30 for 30 film on the five standout freshmen who took Michigan to back-to-back Final Fours in 1992 and 1993. "It was a classic. I was too young to remember when the Fab Five was going but even now I have a friend who was a Duke fan and I used to hate it when he would talk about it. So I feel like if you grow up a Michigan fan you hate Duke and you hate Ohio State."

Kampfer doesn't hate everything about Ohio State though. One of his oldest friends played hockey there, and he's looking forward to a chance to catch up with her during this trip.

"I know a girl I grew up playing hockey with that played at Ohio State," Kampfer said. "She graduated last year but she's in town. So I'm definitely going to see her and catch up. We've been friends since we were about 4."

Rachel Davis grew up and attended high school with Kampfer before going to Ohio State, where she played defense on the women's hockey team and served as a captain as a senior in 2009-10.

"She was a heck of a hockey player," Kampfer said. "It'll be fun to catch up with her. I haven't seen her in about a year, so it will be good to see her and have her at a game."

While the football and basketball rivalries between Michigan and Ohio State are as heated as any in the country, the hockey battles aren't quite as dramatic.

"It's not as big a rivalry as what people think in hockey," Kampfer said. "I wouldn't even say there's that many games that really stick out with those guys. I have more games that stick out in my memory with everybody else. But they always played us hard. They always played us physical. It was always a good game so it was definitely fun playing them."

It will also be fun for Kampfer to get a chance to play in front of some of his family. He hoped to do that even closer to home last month when over 40 family and friends came to see him play in Detroit on Feb. 13. But he was a healthy scratch for the first time that afternoon after playing 29 straight games following his recall from Providence.

Kampfer almost missed this chance as well, as he's been sidelined for the past four games with a concussion suffered against Tampa Bay on March 3. He returned to practice on Sunday and expects to be ready to return to game action on Tuesday, which could have some in the Kampfer clan scrambling to get down to Columbus on short notice.

"I think a couple people are [coming to the game]," Kampfer said. "I didn't really talk to anyone because of all the uncertainty with what was going on [with the concussion], but I think some of them will make it down."

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