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Back to Vancouver for Neely

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins is on the road with the Cup in Vancouver...

Word has spread
08.12.2011 / 5:00 PM ET

PORT MOODY, B.C. - Cam Neely was hoping to keep this visit to Belcarra Regional Park private, but as he walked through the park toward the beach, word spread that the Cup was here and the Bruins' president gained a following.

As Cam was taking pictures with his family and the Cup along the water, several people gathered and started snapping their own. They were all amazed at how memorable their day just became.

A few people asked me, "Is it real?" I had to assure them that yes, it is. I pointed out that Cam Neely is with it.

As he walked back up to the parking lot with the Cup in his hands, some of the crowd continued to follow him. One guy had enough courage to ask if he could hold it. Cam told him he was in a rush, but he was apologetic.

If he stopped for anything, he'd be here for an hour and he has a private party to get to now.

-- Dan Rosen
Bringing it to Mom and Dad

08.12.2011 / 4:40 PM ET

PORT MOODY, B.C. - Mike and Marlene Neely never got to see their only son win the Stanley Cup. They both succumbed to cancer, first Marlene in 1987 and then Mike seven years later.

Mike and Marlene also had a wish to have their children spread their ashes in the Pacific Ocean. So, that's what Cam and his sisters, Chris and Shaun, did for them.

Today, Cam and his sisters are bringing the trophy he worked his entire life for back to his parents because a special visit to his hometown like this one wouldn't be complete without a trip to Belcarra Regional Park here in Port Moody.

Cam not only brought his sisters to the spot along the Burrard Inlet in the scenic park, but his daughter, Ava, as well as Chris' and Shaun's families are here with him.

Cam's wife, Paulina, and his son, Jack, could not make the trip.

They've hired a photographer to take family pictures with the Cup in this special place.

-- Dan Rosen

Neely feels his roots

08.12.2011 / 2:15 PM ET

We drove into the parking lot 45 minutes before Neely's scheduled arrival and it was already more than half full. Parents in tow with their kids in hockey jerseys and cameras in hand are here to take it in and hopefully snap a photo with Cam and the Cup.

A couple of the giddy kids were wearing Canucks shirts, but hey, Neely played for Vancouver early in his career, so no harm, no foul.

"It's their fault, they traded him," said Spencer Levin, a longtime friend of Neely's who still coaches the Midget Triple-A team here.

Planet Ice is situated in a wide open area of Maple Ridge surrounded by trees and scattered small homes. Since it is a beautiful, sunny, 70 degree F morning, it is quite pictureesque.

The arena was built in 1996. The old arena in the downtown area was built in 1967 and renamed Cam Neely Arena in the early 90s. The name was grandfathered into the new arena.

Neely grew up about 15 minutes from this rink. He is staying with a sister of his who lives two minutes away.

Neely grew up playing in the area for the Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey Association, which currently has a roster of roughly 1,000 kids, a lot for a community of 90,000 people.

Everybody here is associated with the Association and they are all signing a banner that Neely will take back to Boston and hang in TD Garden.

After bringing the Cup in to a huge applause, Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin introduced Neely to the crowd and handed him a plaque with pictures from his visit here in February to unveil the wooden sculpture bearing his likeness.

Neely is only signing one autograph, but it is a valuable one. He is signing his own white Bruins jersey that will be raffled off later in the day. All proceeds go to the Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey Association.

After signing the jersey and briefly addressing the crowd, Neely spent the following 90 minutes posing for pictures with everybody here along with the Cup.

The backdrop to the pictures were three banners honoring the day the hometown hero returned with the Cup. Neely will sign the banners and they will hang in the arena.

"Cam wanted to do this for the kids," said Fred Armstrong, who organized the event. "It speaks to the type of man he is."

Now we're off to a special place for the Neely family. Cam is bringing the Cup to the area where he and his sisters spread their parents' ashes.

-- Dan Rosen

Neely starts day at his own arena

08.12.2011 / 1:15 PM ET

MAPLE RIDGE, B.C. -- Cam Neely, a Hall of Fame player with Bruins and current team president started his Cup day in his hometown with a trip to his home rink that is appropriately named after him.

Cam Neely Arena, which is located in Planet Ice here in Maple Ridge, has played host to the Stanley Cup before. In fact, just last year fellow Maple Ridge native Andrew Ladd brought it here for a meet and greet celebration. Ladd also brought it here in 2006 after winning it with Carolina.

This year is different. This year, Maple Ridge's Hall of Fame member is back as the local hero.

Neely, who also had the Cup in Martha's Vineyard on Wednesday, was born in Comox, B.C., but he was raised in Maple Ridge. His sister and her family still live in the area and the ashes of his parents, who both passed away of cancer, are spread in the area.

But more on that later.

-- Dan Rosen
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