Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Cam Neely

Cam Neely was inducted into the hockey hall of fame last night. Cam Neely came to the Bruins in 1986. I was 12 years old, still young enough to be in awe of an athlete. With all due respect to Ray Bourque, Cam Neely was simply the greatest Bruin I have ever seen. (I never saw Orr play, only highlights.) There was nothing Cam couldn't do. He could hit, score, set guys up and fight. Neely was ferocious and I'm sure there were many NHL players who were scared silly when Neely was on the ice.

The Bruins had traded Barry Pederson to Vancouver for Cam. Barry Pederson had been a very good player for the Bruins and I was upset that they would trade him for some guy I had never heard of. Early in Cam's first season I remember saying to my dad, "Hey, have you noticed this

Neely guy? He hits everything on the ice that isn't a Bruin and he's scored a few goals too." By the end of the season I had mailed in my 7th Player Award postcard with my vote, Cam Neely, scribbled on it. Cam won the trophy in a landslide. Over the next few seasons, he solidified himself as the ultimate Bruin and the ultimate "power forward,"which is a title that wasn't used in hockey before Cam. He defined the position.

I was bitterly disappointed when he had to retire and disappointed once again when his comeback failed. Cam was the last athlete that I was ever in awe of. Sure there are still athletes I admire and like a lot, but something happens to you as you get older, you know? Cam Neely, Hall of Famer. Sounds good to me.


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