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September 26, 2006Belleville Bulls forward Bryan Cameron has a lot to play for this season. Not only is the 17-year-old forward in his draft year, he is also playing for one of the teams that is expected to challenge for the Ontario Hockey League's Eastern Conference crown. In what is considered to be the league's toughest division to play out of, the Bulls have a returning core that was battling for home ice in last year's playoffs until late in the season.
McKeen's recently had the opportunity to sit down with Cameron and discuss the new season, the Bulls chances, and next summer's draft, among other things.
McKeen's: First thing, talk about where you grew up and played your minor hockey.
Bryan Cameron: Growing up I played in Brampton. I played for the Brampton Battalion, the junior team there, not the OHL team. I played there for one year then I got called over to play for the (Toronto) Marlies, I played there for six years. I just had fun playing there while I was growing up and that's why I'm still playing today.
McKeen's: What was it like making the jump to the OHL?
Bryan Cameron: It was different, that's for sure. There were a lot of older guys, a lot of bigger bodies. It was a good change though. It made me a better player and a better person too. The level of game was a lot faster, a lot more prettier goals and I learned a lot of new tricks. I just had a lot of fun making the jump.
McKeen's: Talk about being able to play in Belleville.
Bryan Cameron: It's nice playing here. Their are a lot of nice fans out there. They know who you are. They treat you with a lot of respect. It's a really nice place to play. We've got good coaching, good players. It's just a happy atmosphere. The ice surface is really big and you've got to love that if you're a speedy kind of guy.
McKeen's: What's been the biggest adjustment you have had to make since jumping to the OHL?
Bryan Cameron: When I was playing on the Marlies, I was playing centre there most of the time and I only played right wing and left wing a bit. Now I'm just playing the right wing and that as an adjustment I had to make playing up and down the wall because that's where I was better suited. I play better along the wall.
McKeen's: What's the strongest part of your game right now?
Bryan Cameron: Probably skating. I'm a strong skater and when I get around the net, I try to bury every chance.
McKeen's: You touched a little bit on it already, but talk about playing for George Burnett here in Belleville.
Bryan Cameron: He's been through a lot in his life. He's coached in the NHL. He came to Belleville and has done a really great job. He's created a team now that work well together. All the picks he has made since he's been here are looking good now. That's why we should be pretty successful this season.
McKeen's: Talk a little more about the talent level of the Bulls this year.
Bryan Cameron: It's great because between the first line and the fourth line, there's not that big of a difference. (Coach Burnett) can his fourth line just as fast as his first and still get the same outcome. There's nobody just along for the ride. Everybody's playing a big part and everyone is here for the right reasons. It should be an interesting year.
McKeen's: The East Division, with the Bulls, Ottawa, Oshawa, Kingston, and Peterborough, is seen by a lot of people as the toughest division in the league. Especially this year with Kingston, and Belleville expected to be tough, what is it like playing in this division?
Bryan Cameron: It's going to be a good division, that's for sure. Kingston, with a lot of guys drafted to the NHL, it should be a good rivalry. To play in Ottawa is always amazing with the fans and the atmosphere. It's phenomenal.
McKeen's: What kind of career goals do you have in mind right now?
Bryan Cameron: I just want to go as far as I possibly can obviously. I'm just enjoying doing it, take it day-by-day, and try to get better. If that's good enough then hopefully, I can be in the NHL or maybe play overseas. Who knows? It's up in the air. I'm just going to keep on working and things will work out from there.
McKeen's: You're eligible for the NHL draft this year; do you find yourself looking ahead to it at all?
Bryan Cameron: I'm just going to play the year like I did last year and every time I'm out there I'm going to give 110%. I'm going to just keep doing what I'm doing. If that can get me drafted, that's just a bonus. I'm not going to worry about it or think about it too much. It might throw me off my game but I'm just going to go out there and do my thing.
McKeen's: What kind of personal goals have you set for this season?
Bryan Cameron: Well, I haven't really set anything specific. I just want to beat what I did last year and just try to be more of an all-around player and everything should just work out from there.
McKeen's: Who has been the biggest influence on your career thus far?
Bryan Cameron: Biggest influence has definitely been my parents for waking up in the morning and taking me to practice at 6 a.m. Especially my dad too, he's always been there. He hasn't missed a game unless he really had to for work or he would take the day off. He's taught me a lot through my life and put me into places with the right teams and it brought me here.
McKeen's: What do you think you would want to do if hockey wasn't an option for a career?
Bryan Cameron: I think just anything to do with hockey to be honest because I love everything about the game. I could stay on the ice all day long if I had the opportunity. Maybe coaching or something along those lines just to stay in the game.
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