Alyssa Campanella strutted her stuff like few others at the 2011 Miss USA preliminary competition. She was elegant in green during the evening gown portion of the contest before getting sassy in a blue polka dot bikini for the swimsuit segment.
Truth is that while the 21-year-old California representative was at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, on June 15, 2011, in body, her mind was in Vancouver at Rogers Arena with the Canucks during Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.
It was the mother of all scheduling conflicts, one that had Campanella competing for a chance of a lifetime unable to watch her beloved Canucks competing for the chance of a lifetime.
“I was trying to keep up with the score as best as I could backstage,” Campanella told Canucks.com.
“The host of the show, Chet Buchanan, is actually a huge Vancouver Canucks fan too and we were praying and praying the Canucks would do it.”
Campanella didn’t find out the disastrous final score of Game 7 until it was well over as she didn’t want it to affect her performance in trying to land a spot in the group of 15 finalists for the Miss USA title.
You’d think that on the cusp of realizing a lifelong dream, nothing could have breached Campanella's force field of focus. She’s become that hardcore of a Canucks fan.
Born and raised in Manalapan Township, New Jersey, Campanella wasn’t the slightest bit into hockey growing up. As a teenager she would often commute on transit from New Jersey to New York and despite being encircled by Devils and Rangers fans, she never paid attention to the NHL, never attended a game live, never nothing nadda.
It took just a single live Canucks game to change her outlook on hockey, so much so that during the Miss USA preliminary, she listed hockey and space exploration as her passions.
Campanella has fallen head over heels for the Canucks and it began with a trip to Vancouver with her boyfriend, Canadian actor Torrance Coombs, last October. The couple watched Mason Raymond score 28 seconds into overtime as the Canucks beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 on October 26; Campanella still gets excited thinking about her introduction to Canada’s game.
“It was my first hockey game live so I was really excited, but I didn’t really know the rules or how the game went. Torrance was educating me as it went on and I have to say, I think hockey is the most incredible sport to watch live; it’s the most sportiest of the sports, if you know what I mean.
“I was filled with adrenaline from how fast everything was. You can’t always tell where that puck is, it moves so fast, the speed in that game is intense, but what I loved the most was the crowd because Vancouveries are so into their team and it’s so nice to see that. There were so many people there and the energy was absolutely insane. Rogers Arena was blowing up.
“That experience and the Canucks just stuck with me, I stayed loyal and I didn’t want to follow any other team.”
The 5-foot-8, green-eyed, redheaded vixen has remained loyal to the Canucks and she's proud to admit it. Since being named Miss USA, she’s become more vocal than ever.
@AlyssCampanella began tweeting her love for the Canucks after her first live game and support has been flying from her fingers, 140 characters at a time, ever since. More recently she praised the Canucks on an interview with Fox Sports West, which led to some on-line chatter about if Miss USA should be cheering for a Canadian team.
In short, haters gonna hate.
“Since I won Miss USA, it’s not just Californians, but Americans are kind of like “why are you supporting the Canucks?” All I ask them is why they aren't supporting the Canucks, Vancouver won the Presidents’ Trophy last year!
“I’m pretty sure Californians feel a little bit of betrayal, but I have to say, I was a Vancouver Canucks fan before I even won Miss California USA, so it’s not like it’s anything personal, I just fell in love with the Canucks and now I’m loyal to them.”
As Miss USA, Campanella’s first duty is to win the Miss Universe Pageant on September 12, 2011, in São Paulo, Brazil, or at least try her best. After that she’ll hit the ground running in their reign as Miss USA by working with various charities and traveling with the USO to support the men and women in the military.
Campanella will be unimaginably busy, yet she promises to find time for her adored Canucks.
“I am still going to be a Canucks fan as Miss USA, that’s not changing, I’m still going to be tweeting during games all season.
“It’s going to be a great year!”