Whether it's a neighbor taking a tech job in North Carolina or an offensive-minded defenseman heading to Chicago, moving away from what was referred to a century ago as "The Valley of Hearts Delight" is hard for the natives to grasp.
But not since Ed Belfour left for the Dallas Stars more than a decade ago have fans of the city's lone major professional sports franchise expressed this kind of displeasure for a defector, lobbing deafening boos whenever Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell touched the puck in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals on Sunday.
"I've never really been a hated person in my life," said Campbell, whose team enters Tuesday's game with a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. "The first time I came in here, I was like, 'Really?' It kind of distracted me."
Campbell, who began his career with the Buffalo Sabres, was a deadline acquisition of the Sharks in the 2007-08 season and played all of 41 games with the club before he left for Chicago via free agency. Blackhawks coach Joel Quennville offered up some advice to Campbell, 30, when the team traveled to the Shark Tank last season.
"He said, 'If you think you have it bad, [Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Chris] Pronger gets booed in every single building he goes into,'" Campbell relayed.
The Sharks made every attempt to re-sign Campbell and had a strong lobbyist in their top center, Joe Thornton, buddy of Campbell's since childhood.
"He wanted me to come back," said Campbell, who stayed at Thornton's home during his short tenure with the Sharks. "I have nothing [bad] to say about the Sharks. I did what I had to do."
Campbell said the fact the Chicago was closer to his family in Ontario, Canada, was the primary reason he signed an eight-year, $56.8 million deal with the Blackhawks in July 2008.
"It is what it is," Campbell said. "I liked my time here, but my agent and I were up front from Day 1."
There was a time not but a few weeks ago when it appeared the target of San Jose's scorn could be lost for the season. Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin sent Campbell into the boards face first in a March 14 game, breaking Campbell's collarbone and at least one rib.
Ovechkin was tossed from the game and served a two-game suspension. Campbell was expected to miss up to eight weeks, but he made it back for Game 4 of the 'Hawks' first-round series against the Nashville Predators on April 22 -- a series Chicago trailed, 2-1, at the time.
"We really noticed his addition when we got him in Game 4 in Nashville," Quennville said. "It turned the game around for us with his energy and pace. I think he's progressed each and every game. He's got more strength, more quickness and his condition is improving."
Not that it matters much to those who will again fill the Shark Tank for Game 2, although Campbell has become a good sport about it.
"I wanted to hang onto it as long as I could," smiled Campbell. "You walk around the locker room and talk to the guys and they wish they got booed in some places. There are great fans here."