The One That Got Away

A Haunting Career

The worst trade in Vancouver Canucks History! That is just one of the things that Mr. Neely is known for. The other is an aggressive power forward style of hockey that cut his hockey career dreadfully short.

Neely was born on June 6, 1965 in Comox, BC but he made his mark in hockey on the mainland playing for the Ridge Meadows Hockey Association in Maple Ridge.

A solid minor hockey career led to Neely being drafted into the Western Hockey League by the Portland Winter Hawks before the 1982-1983 season.

That year, Portland won the Memorial Cup and Neely was responsible for nine goals and eleven assists in 14 games as a rookie.

In the summer of 1983, Cam Neely was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in the first round – 9th overall. He would play three seasons with Vancouver and record 104 points before the trade that will live in infamy for Canucks fans.

Vancouver sent Neely and a first round draft pick to Boston for Barry Pederson – seriously!

Neely went on to score 36 goals to lead Boston in his first full year with the club and he had 72 points that season. It certainly was a sign of things to come. In 1987-1988, Neely scored 42 goals, 88-89 he had 37, 89-90 he had 55 goals, 90-91 he had 51 goals and in an injury shortened next two seasons he played in only 22 games but scored 20 goals.

Thanks to Ulf Samuelsson and his knee-on-knee hit in the 1991 playoffs, Neely would never be the same. In Game 3 and Game 6 of those playoffs, he was subjected to questionable hits.

Cam developed a condition called myositis ossificans which would limit Neely to just 162 games after those 1991 playoffs. In 1993-1994, Neely joined elite company when he scored 50 goals in the 44 games that he played that season.

To this day, Cam Neely ranks fourth in goals per game average behind Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Brett Hull. He reached the 50 goal plateau three times and was an All-Star five times. He retired after the 1995-1996 season at the tender age of 31 as one of the most popular Boston Bruins of all time. 

He attempted an ill-fated comeback in November 1998.

Boston has since retired Neely’s Number 8 and in 2005 he was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame. On September 25, 2007 Neely was given the job as Boston`s Vice President – he would become President on June 16th, 2010.

As President, Neely got his first Stanley Cup win on June 15th, 2011 when the Bruins beat the Canucks ironically in one of the most entertaining Cup Finals in history.