(Photo Credit: B. Bennett/Getty Images)

By: Steve McClure | Follow me on Twitter / X @stmcclure1993

Today is Cam Neely’s 59th birthday. He is a former right-wing for the Boston Bruins and the present team president. Many hockey fans consider him to be the prototypical Boston Bruin.

Cam Neely was the ninth overall pick by the Vancouver Canucks in the 1983 NHL draft. At the age of 21—on his June 6th birthday in 1986—he was traded to the Boston Bruins, along with the Canucks’ 1987 first round pick, for center Barry Pederson. The power forward became a fan favorite in Boston for his ability to dish out hard-hitting body checks and score by the bushel. In his first three seasons in Boston, he scored 30+ goals, and he scored 50+ in three of the next five seasons. Perhaps most impressive was his injury shortened 1993-94 season when he scored 50 goals in only 49 games. Due to that challenging season and his performance, Neely was awarded the NHL’s Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for qualities of perseverance and sportsmanship.

During his time in Boston, Neely was one of the most ferocious body checkers and feared fighters in the NHL. Add to these elements his ability to be such a devastating goal scorer, and the Bruins had one of the most valuable players of his era. Unfortunately he sustained a knee injury in the 1991 Wales Conference finals, which in time turned into a degenerative condition—due to calcium build-up—known as myositis ossificans. He only managed to play in 22 games over the next two seasons, and this condition would later lead to hip damage, which would ultimately end his playing career five years later.

Neely stands at number eight on the Bruins all-time goal scoring list with 344 strikes in just 525 regular season games. He was just recently surpassed by Brad Marchand for the club’s most playoff goals all-time, as he scored 55 times in only 86 games. Though playing an abbreviated  career, Neely still owned an impressive 344-246-590 line of production.

Cam Neely announced his retirement on September 5, 1996 at the age of 31. He was named president of the Boston Bruins in June of 2010 and has one Stanley Cup title (2011) on his ‘executive’ resume. As Neely reminisced about the 2011 championship in June of 2021, “We had some runs over the years but never were able to lift the Cup, so for me it was what it meant to the city of Boston and New England and our Bruins fans. Just how excited and elated everyone was. It was kind of a long time coming.”

Neely is a five-time NHL All-Star and an NHL Hall-of-Famer, inducted in 2005. His ’8’ jersey was retired by the Bruins in 2004 and he was named to the organization’s All-Centennial Team this past fall. Happy birthday, Cam!