OTTAWA - Ottawa Senators (@Senators) owner Eugene Melnyk announced today that recently retired forward Chris Neil is returning to the Senators organization and has been appointed to the role of Alumni Ambassador. Neil, who spent his entire 16-year NHL playing career in Ottawa, will join Chris Phillips, with whom he was teammates for 14 seasons in Ottawa, in the role.
The Senators sixth-round pick in the 1998 NHL Draft, Neil will primarily be responsible for supporting the team's outreach efforts throughout Ottawa-Gatineau and within the local business community.
"We're delighted to have Chris return to the Senators," said Melnyk. "One of the most determined and resilient players this franchise has ever known, Chris' 'team-first' mentality and approachable demeanor will serve him well and makes him a perfect fit for an ambassador of the Senators brand."
A native of Flesherton, Ont., Neil is one of only three players (Daniel Alfredsson, Phillips) in Senators' history to play more than 1,000 games for the club. Through the 2017-18 National Hockey League season, he ranks 20th on the NHL's all-time penalty minutes list (2,522) and is one of only two players in league history (Ken Daneyko) to skate in more than 1,000 games while accruing at least 2,500 penalty minutes in playing the entirety of his career with a single franchise.
Along with his wife, Caitlin, Neil has also made a significant impact within the Ottawa community by way of attending and hosting numerous charitable events for various philanthropic organizations. On July 13, 2011, the couple was named as honorary co-chairs of Roger Neilson House, a pediatric palliative care centre and a facility for which many of the organization's initiatives have helped raise thousands of dollars as ambassadors for the centre since its founding in Ottawa in 2001.
Neil, who last appeared in the NHL as a player in Game 6 of the Senators' Second Round series against the New York Rangers last spring has continued to reside in Ottawa with Caitlin and their three children: Hailey, Cole and Finn
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