Sunday, January 08, 2006
Hockey Hall of Fame Induction---2005
2005 Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
Prior to his induction day on Monday, November 7, 2005, Cam Neely had never been to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
“I would strongly encourage hockey fans to check this place out,” he told me following the induction day morning interviews. As is usually the case, there is a special display of inductee material near the entrance to the Hall---featuring Neely, and his two fellow inductees: Murray Costello, and Valeri Kharlamov.
Last year the Boston Bruins retired his number---number 8. During the interview, Neely told me that he requested two other numbers when he was traded from Vancouver to Boston---21 or 12. Neither was available at the time, and the trainer gave him 8. The player who wore 12 was traded midway through the season, and Neely asked the trainer for that number. The trainer told Neely he’d get back to him. After some delay, the trainer finally told him: “Harry (Sinden, the Bruins General Manager) likes you in 8. So you’ll stay in 8!” That’s the way it was in Boston at that time. And things haven’t changed drastically since then.
When asked about tough opponents, without hesitation he replied, “Scott Stevens. He was so big and so strong---almost impossible to move. Whenever he played the Canadiens, he knew that Craig Ludwig would be over the boards as soon as he hit the ice. As far as a nasty, pesky, annoying opponent: “ Claude Lemieux, no doubt about it.”
During one of his fifty goal seasons, Neely felt the magic in his stick. But he acknowledged the efforts of his line mates at that time: Adam Oates, and Joe Juneau. Brett Hull, who recently retired, had most of his prolific seasons with Oates at his side as well.
Although he was never a first all star, Neely finished his caree