Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Rewarding One of the Greats

The Boston Bruins will reportedly hold a press conference on Wednesday to announce that they have filled their vacant team president position. It is expected that long-time Bruin great Cam Neely will be promoted from his current position of team vice-president to the position once held by Harry Sinden. To me, this move will pay off in spades for the Bruins in a number of ways. There's no doubt that Bruins fans hold the power forward dear in their hearts. For the longest time, Bourque and Neely were synonymous with the Boston Bruins as both men proudly wore the spoked "B" for the better part of their careers. And now it appears that Neely will continue to ply his trade, albeit off the ice, for the team to which his name is forever linked.

There is a lot that Cam Neely has done as a member of the Boston Bruins:

  • Became a mainstay in Boston after Vancouver shipped him and a first-round draft pick to the Bruins in exchange for Barry Pederson.
  • Led the Bruins in goals seven times, and in points twice.
  • Currently sits fifth in Bruins goals all-time, and ninth in points all-time.
  • Has the most playoff goals of any Bruins with 55, and is seventh in playoff points with the Bruins.
  • Neely became just the fifth Boston Bruin to hit the 50-goal plateau when he did so in 1989-90, and set a club record for goals by a right winger with 55.
  • Neely became just the second Bruin to score 50 goals in consecutive seasons when he scored 51 in 1990-91.
  • Neely was the second fastest player in NHL history to score 50 goals when he scored 50 in 44 games in 1993-94.
  • Thanks to his amazing season in 1993-94 after returning from serious thigh and knee injuries, Neely was awarded the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for his dedication to the sport of hockey.
  • In 1995, Cam Neely helped found the Cam Neely Foundation in honour of his parents, Mike and Marlene Neely, after they passed away from cancer. Through his foundation, Cam Nelly has been able to help thousands cope with cancer, and is working towards finding a cure for this disease.
  • Neely's injuries continued to hamper his game, though, and he retired from the NHL as a member of the Bruins in September 1996.
  • Neely saw his number raised to the rafters on January 12, 2004 in a retirement ceremony held by the Bruins.
  • Neely was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2005 as a member of the Boston Bruins.
  • On Wednesday, Cam Neely will be named as the eighth Team President of the Boston Bruins.
Over the last decade, we have seen a number of retired NHL players take prominent roles with various NHL teams: Mario Lemieux owning the Pittsburgh Penguins, Wayne Gretzky coaching the Phoenix Coyotes, Garth Snow taking the general manager reins with the New York Islanders, and Steve Yzerman becoming the general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning. You can add Cam Neely to the list as well as he was mentoring as the team vice-president since September 2007.

The differences between some of these players-turned-executives is in their training and preparation for their new roles. Steve Yzerman worked alongside Ken Holland in Detroit for several seasons before accepting the Tampa Bay position. The jury is still out on his job, obviously, but there is a strong feeling that he will succeed thanks to Ken Holland showing him the ropes.

Much like Yzerman, Neely has had the opportunity to work in Boston's front office in a lesser role before moving into the larger office. While Neely didn't specifically have anyone who mentored him for his new role, Neely worked with Charlie Jacobs and general manager Peter Chiarelli over the last season, getting a bird's eye view of how the hockey operations run.

There are clear and concise differences between being a general manager of an NHL club and the team president of an NHL club, but the fact that both men learned from arguably some of the best in the business gives them an advantage in adapting to their new roles.

With that being said, congratulations go out to Cam Neely on his appointment to Team President of the Boston Bruins! It's nice to have a familiar face steering the ship!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

No comments: