A Trip Down Memory Lane: The Legendary Cam Neely aka “Bam-Bam Cam”

 

The Legendary Cam Neely:

 

If I were to choose one word to describe Cam Neely as a hockey player, it would be ‘powerhouse’. Cam Neely was one of the most powerful hockey players of all time. During Neely’s time with the Bruins, he acquired the nickname “Bam-Bam Cam” which was given to him, due to a multitude of factors, such as, his strength, size, speed, character, physicality-fighting, Intimidation factor, aggressive goal scoring and ability to run down any rival that got in his way.  Not only was Cam an awesome hockey player, he was absolutely entertaining to watch on the ice. He brought passion into every game he played. He also brought an element of anxiety and excitement. Neely was a very physical player and it worked very well for him, as well as for the Bruins.  He had it all and he gave it his all. One of the greatest players in NHL history. A true beast among beasts. When Cam played, you’d wait in anticipation for a fight to break out and yell and cheer as he mangled and wiped the ice clean, with his opponent.  Neely was just an all around great player. One of the best ‘power forwards’ in NHL history.

During Neely’s minor league days, he lead his team, the Winter Hawks (Western Hockey League) to the Memorial Cup Championship. The Hawks were the first U.S. based team to claim the cup.

Cam Neely started his professional hockey career, with the Vancouver Canucks. He was 9th overall in the 1983 NHL entry draft. Neely only played with Vancouver for 3 seasons.

In 1986, the Canucks traded Neely to the Boston Bruins. In regards to his parting with Vancouver, Cam was quoting as saying, “I was playing behind Stan Smyl and Tony Tanti, so I didn’t see a lot of ice time, and, certainly not on the power plays.” Vancouvers’  loss was definitely the Bruins’ gain. The Bruins quickly saw that not only did they make a good trade, they got the better end of the deal.

During Neely’s first season with the Bruins, he was given the opportunity to show what he was made of. He was given the opportunity for growth. He was given the opportunity to play the way that only Cam can play. All he needed was someone to have a little faith in him and let him prove what he was capable of.  Neely was quoted as saying, “I didn’t really know what to expect once I got to Boston and had no idea that my career would turn out the way it did, for those ten years. From day one in training camp, I just wanted to get the opportunity to play.” Cam also went on to say, “I never thought I’d be a 50-goal scorer, but I was given a chance to contribute offensively, not just physically.”  Cam made 36 goals, 36 assists, gained 72 points and had 143 penalty minutes in the 1986-1987 season with the Bruins.

During Neely’s professional career, he reached the 50-goal mark, 3 times. He played in 5 All-Star games. He was named the leagues’ Second Team All-Star, in 1988, 1990, 1991 and 1994. He won the Bill Masterton Trophy in the 1993-1994 season. One thing that really stood out about Neely, was his unwillingness to quit. He put his heart and soul into the game. He really gave it his all. He pushed and pushed. Unfortunately, he had suffered a few injuries, throughout his career and ultimately had to retire as a professional hockey player, in 1996. He did attempt a comeback in 1998, but he realized that he just couldn’t do it anymore. Cam was quoted as saying, “I wish my lungs felt as good as my hip. If I last four days (of practice) in a row and my hip’s barking at me, then that’s all she wrote”. He then continued on to say, “I know how I felt when I had to retire and I know how I feel now. It’s not really how I want to feel. It was fun while I was out there but each day I skated, the pain just kind of lingered a lot longer than I would have liked.” Cam Neely is a perfect example of a true fighter…..physically, mentally and emotionally. Some might not know this, but Cam was dealing with some very private and devastating personal issues during his hockey career. He lost his mother to cancer, in 1987 and then lost his father to cancer, in 1993. Despite both the physical and emotional trauma that he was enduring and had endured throughout his seasons with Boston, he pulled it together and gave it everything he had, in every game he played. That’s what I call heart and soul.  Cam Neely is hands down, simply one of the best players in NHL History.

Cam Neely played professional hockey from 1983-1996 and ended his professional career with 395 goals, 299 assists and 694 points, in 726 games (regular season). Cam Neely was inducted into the Hall Of Fame in 2005. Well deserved, in my opinion and his No. 8 jersey was retired by the Bruins on January 12, 2004.

Cam Neely established the Cam Neely Foundation for Cancer Care, in memory of his parents in 1995. The Neely House provides housing and support for families of patients undergoing cancer treatments. In addition to the Neely House, his foundation also supports the Neely Cancer Fund, the Neely Center for Clinical Cancer research, the Neely Cell Therapy and Collection Center and the Neely Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Unit. Neely is just an all around great guy. A very passionate and compassionate person. I think it’s important for people to know that there is more to Cam Neely, than just being an awesome hockey player. He is an all around great person as well.

Cam Neely is still affiliated with the Bruins and he holds the title of President to the Bruins franchise.

Now, onto a somewhat touchy subject, when it comes to Bruins fans. When a young Milan Lucic emerged onto the scene and started playing for the Boston Bruins in 2007, there was a lot of talk about him being the “next Cam Neely”. I, myself, am a huge Lucic fan and I feel that Milan does have it in him, to be the “next Cam Neely” but I’m not completely sure at this point, if he will push himself hard enough to gain that title. As any Bruins fan will tell you, Lucic hasn’t played as well the last 2 years, as he had in previous years. At the same time though, I believe he definitely felt the ‘heat’ last season. Fans were outraged at Lucic’s performance in the 2011-2012 season and voiced their opinions quite loudly. He has the same playing style as Cam, although he has yet to pull the goals in like Neely did.  Then again, if we’ve learned one thing from Neely’s situation with the Canucks, it’s that you just never know. Don’t be so quick to judge. You might be sitting on a gold mine. I am curious to hear others’ thoughts on this. So what do you think? Is Milan Lucic the next Cam Neely?

 

Information in this article was obtained through the below sites:

Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cam_Neely

Bruins NHL

http://bruins.nhl.com/

 

 

Shannon Navarro

I’m a Bruinsfanatic from California

Topics: Bam Bam Cam, Boston Bruins, Cam Neely, Milan Lucic, Power Forward

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