The hockey bug bit Bill Camp when he was a 4-year-old living in Groton, Mass. The Tony Award-nominated actor and narrator of "ALL ACCESS: Quest for the Stanley Cup" on Showtime Sports was intrigued by the sounds of the game when watching the team representing the high school where his father was a teacher practice at a nearby outdoor rink.
"It was a magical experience for me, watching and listening," Camp said. "You taste the ice when you're outside like that in the middle of winter and you're a little kid. The cut of the blade on the ice is different. The sound is different. It was really something. It kind of blew my mind and I wanted to learn how to do that."
Camp did just that. His passion for hockey took him through his childhood and his days playing on an intramural team at the University of Vermont. These days, in addition to appearing on Broadway in the revival of Arthur Miller's "The Crucible," Camp is the voice behind the Showtime Sports docuseries chronicling the Pittsburgh Penguins and San Jose Sharks in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.
The third episode of "ALL ACCESS: Quest for the Stanley Cup" debuts Friday at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime in the United States and 11 p.m. ET on Sportsnet in Canada. Like Camp's previous projects narrating EPIX's series on the 2015 and 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, and the 2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series, his work with Showtime brings him back to his roots playing hockey on his driveway and on the lake in the woods behind his childhood home.
"I think every time I do it, it makes me appreciate it and embrace those things more or once again," Camp said. "It's sort of in my hard-wiring.
"It's kind of like a domino effect every time I get to just watch a game. And when I get to talk about it, it's a privilege because it's so exciting to be connected. The writing, for one, is amazing, and the footage they get, you're right there. It makes me feel connected to the game, which then in turn makes me feel connected to a real important part of my life, my childhood."
Prior to narrating the series, Camp took part in the 2016 NHL Bracket Challenge Powered by Samsung, where he predicted the Sharks advancing to and winning the Cup Final. The Sharks trail the best-of-7 series 2-0 but return home for Game 3 at SAP Center on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).
For San Jose to get back into the series, Camp believes it needs to find the swagger that got the Sharks through the first three rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with wins against the Los Angeles Kings, Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues.
"They need to get that going again," Camp said. "Whatever that is, confidence or 'Oh yeah, we can do this.' Because the Penguins, man, they look really hungry."
Camp also plays in a couple of leagues, one for a team called "The Bronys" in Queens and another in his hometown of Brooklyn. But he's much better known for his acting. Camp had roles in the movies "12 Years a Slave" and "Birdman," each of which won an Oscar for Best Picture. He'll find out if he wins a Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play for his role in "The Crucible" at the 2016 Tony Awards on June 12.
"I have to say my chances are probably very low, to be honest, just because the other guys are so awesome," Camp said. "I always strive to be as good as some of those guys. I have no expectation at all. Really, it's a win for me just to have the honor of being named as a nominee. It was so exciting and I felt so proud and I felt so honored by it all. I do know what it means and how important it is. It's pretty cool. I was really kind of numb for a few days."
A Tony Award would be great, but if he could live out his fantasies, there's one prize he'd love to win, the Stanley Cup.
"That would be pretty cool," Camp said. "That would also mean if I got to have that then I was playing professional hockey, and what better deal could there be?"