Earlier in my life as a developed into a diehard hockey fan, there was one player that I always feared when seeing him play for the Boston Bruins. With absolutely no disrespect for a fellow Hall of Famer in Raymond Bourque, I always found Cameron Neely as a dangerous weapon for the men that donned the black and gold jerseys bearing that famous spoked B logo on the chest.
As a very humble and giving man, he was a leader on and off the ice for the Bruins. Neely represented them well as a part of the National Hockey League family. He may have put up big career numbers, but Neely was also a punishing checking forward that made him one of the most versatile, multifaceted forwards in the game. No, he wasn't a player that played the role of an enforcer, yet he fought his battles when he needed to.
After playing 525 NHL games where he compiled 344 goals, 246 assists and 921 penalty minutes over 10 seasons, Neely was forced to retire in September 1996 due to chronic injuries. Now as a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, his #8 was retired by the Bruins on November 7, 2005 in a memorable ceremony at TD Banknorth Garden.
For what he brought to this Original Six franchise, owner Jeremy Jacobs and his front office made the decision to officially name Neely yesterday as the team's new Vice President. He will oversee general manager Peter Chiarelli as well advise Jacobs on the business side of the franchise operations. In other words, Neely will have a major say in the day-to-day operations of the team with only Jacobs to answer to.
"We have had great success working with Cam the past few months," Mr. Jacobs said at yesterday's press conference to announce Neely's appointment. "And Cam, I am happy to announce today, is the new Vice President of the Boston Bruins."
While Neely is a household name for Bruins fans, the goal is under his leadership and guidance to restore the team's relevance in the NHL and the hockey world. Everyone in Boston has gone crazy for the Red Sox and Patriots in recent years and I'm sure that is what under Neely's watch wants to see the same thing happen with the Bruins.