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Brian Campbell gets emotional as he makes his NHL retirement official

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CHICAGO – He certainly isn’t leaving the team, but in many ways Tuesday signaled the end of an era.

For nearly two decades, putting on the skates and pads has been an everyday part of Brian Campbell’s life. For 17 seasons, he wore the jersey of four NHL teams and qualified for a quartet of All-Star games as one of the more reliable defenseman in the league.

Tuesday was the end of that at the United Center as Campbell’s retirement became official with a news conference to honor his career. A job in the front office means that he’s going to be around the Blackhawks for sometime, but the thought of being done with hockey produced some genuine emotion for Campbell.

“Today, we call Chicago home, we’ve embraced the Chicago culture,” said a tearful Campbell as he read his opening statement on Tuesday. “We love this town and we are proud to say that our family is a Blackhawks family.”

Campbell was joined by his wife and two daughter at the news conference along with Blackhawks CEO John McDonough, who stayed in close contact with the defenseman before he made his final decision. It was he who gave Campbell a front office job when he did make his decision, one that will have him working in marketing initiatives along with youth hockey programs.

“He’s friendly, he’s competitive and he’s a great person and he wants to learn and he wants to dive in,” said McDonough of Campbell. “We’re going to keep him very busy.”

As long as it is with the Blackhawks organization, that won’t be a problem for the recently retired defenseman.