Cam Neely honoured with Winterhawks jersey retirement

Matthew Wolfe

Portland, Ore. – Cam Neely, who played with the Winterhawks (formerly Winter Hawks) from 1982 to 1984, had his jersey retired before Portland’s game against Seattle on Saturday night.

Neely is the first Winterhawk to ever have his jersey retired and was also inducted into the Winterhawks Hall of Fame alongside three of his Portland teammates – Randy Heath, Grant Sasser and Ken Yaremchuk – during the pre-game ceremony.

As a Western Hockey League rookie, Neely scored 56 goals and 64 assists in 72 games to help guide the Winterhawks to one of its best seasons in franchise history. Playing on a line with fellow Hall of Fame inductees Randy Heath and Ken Yaremchuk, Neely scored three goals in the Memorial Cup championship game over the Oshawa Generals to give Portland its first Memorial Cup championship.

“We knew at some point during the year that we were going to be the host city and we didn’t take our foot off the gas. We had a good run in the Western Hockey League playoffs and ultimately lost in the finals, but we gave Lethbridge a good series and we stepped it up in the Memorial Cup,” said Neely.

Neely returned to Portland the following season, but it was a short-lived stint because he made his National Hockey League debut with the Vancouver Canucks. The call-up came as little surprise, as he was one of 20 WHL athletes all-time to score 55+ goals during his 17-year-old season.

“Coming today to the locker room brought back a lot of memories and talking with some of the guys here it’s been special. You don’t know what to expect after 40 years, but it’s nice to see the team. That’s something that lives with us forever when you win a championship,” said Neely.

Neely went on to play 13 seasons in the NHL, amassing 694 points and 1,241 penalty minutes in 726 career games with the Canucks and the Boston Bruins. He spent eight seasons as an alternate captain of the Bruins and was named an NHL All-Star four times during his pro career.

“Hockey has certainly given me everything that I have in my life, which is neat because you don’t think about that as a kid, but looking back, you certainly recognize how blessed you are to have these opportunities,” he said.

In addition to serving as team president of the Boston Bruins for the last 13 seasons, Cam Neely has had success establishing the Cam Neely Foundation, which supports cancer patients and their families receiving treatment at Boston’s Tufts Medical Center.

According to its website, the Cam Neely Foundation has raised over $32 million since its 1995 inception to “design, fund and complete projects with immediate tangible results that have had a positive impact on thousands of families as they face such a difficult diagnosis.”

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