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Neely and the Cup Just Show Up

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
BOSTON -- Cam Neely waited 25 years for a day with the Cup. With 39 years between 1972 and 2011, Boston waited even longer, but on Wednesday (July 13th), the former Bruins power forward turned team president got a few hours with hockey's Holy Grail and he made sure to share it with the city.

"It was great to have the Cup," said Neely. "Probably that’s when it really sinks in that we won the Cup was actually is when you’re spending some time with it.

"So I took it to the Neely House, to the employees that have worked there for years -- Patricia Rowe, she’s the manager of the Neely House -- so I took it in there and got some great pictures. Actually there's a really cool shot, I think because I haven’t seen it yet, with the Stanley Cup underneath my parents’ photo on the wall in the Neely House [which] was pretty cool.

"Then it ended up going to...the police and fire department [in Neely's Mass. hometown]. I gave them a heads up that I was coming just so they can prepare. So that was great and just to see the reaction.

"As you know, the reaction on people’s faces when they see the Cup and they can touch it and get a picture with it, it’s really a special moment.

Neely's reactions in the pressbox have become a staple television shot during his tenure in the B's boardroom, and it's clear that Boston's number-8 retains the same passion for the Bruins and for hockey as he had when he was patrolling the ice of the Boston Garden.

"There’s no other trophy like the Stanley Cup in professional sports," he said. "Just the way the people react to this and there’s so much history on it."

There's plenty of sports history in New England and Neely went ahead and added to it as he toured Boston and Cambridge on Wednesday afternoon.

"I just stopped in a couple places in Cambridge, High Rise Bakery, they’re really cool people in there and there’s Formaggio [Kitchen] -- hard core Bruins fans. So I just kind of showed up. They weren’t expecting me at all and [everyone had] a look of shock on their faces when you walk in with it," he said. "Then I just zipped it over to Noir and Charles Hotel where I had a bunch people there that wanted them to get their picture taken with it so I felt that was a good place to do it.

"I ended up stopping the Town Restaurant for 20 minutes just to surprise people there. Then went to Nebo. The place was fairly full and it was cool, the reaction, taking the Cup in there. And then ended up at Scampo [in the Liberty Hotel] for dinner.

"Oh and I went to Charles River Golf Course...[and] all the kids were running up from the pool and came and got pictures with it so it was a great day."

Neely took special pride in being able to surprise so many fans during his first few hours with the Cup and said their love of the Bruins heightened his Stanley Cup satisfaction.

"Well, just having the privilege of playing for the Bruins, playing in front of our fan base, being in this city since ’86, knowing what great fans that we do have and how passionate they are, how disappointed they’ve been and then being involved with the group that has helped kind of help turn things around, and see the fan base come back and the support that we’ve received, building sold out, great season ticket base -- to end up ending the 39 year drought is, for me, it’s special. For the organization, it's special, and it's really special for our fan base. I know it’s special for the ownership, owning it for 36 years and finally winning," explained Neely.

"But for the fans, I’m so excited for them because I’m a huge fan of our fans. I think we’ve got the best fans in the league. They’re very knowledgeable about the game.

"You know, I’ve said this all along, this is what they’ve deserved. They’ve deserved the Cup for a long, long time and now they finally have it and it’s nice to be able to, whether it’s our players or management or community relations, or our marketing department, whoever it is that’s taking the Cup out there, it’s great for them to be able to be a part of it, enjoy it, touch it, see it, get their picture with it, it’s awesome."

Neely will have another day with the Cup, but he'll be heading to his hometown of Vancouver to visit friends and family and revisit the scene of Boston's ultimate triumph.

"It’ll be a little different," said Neely. "This will be sharing it with friends and family, primarily.

"It’s not going to be anywhere near the same as taking it around New England, Boston. I’m just doing some pretty low-key things with it. I’ll take it to the Cam Neely Arena in the town that I grew up in, do some photos there with it.

"But other than that, it’s going to be very low-key," he said.

Unlike his impromptu travels earlier this week.

"Yesterday was special because it was a few hours that it was kind of in between going from Don DelNegro to Geoff Ward," said the Bruins president. "It was kind of a travel day and there were some hours there that I was able to scoop it up and get it out into Boston."
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