Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 2011, 25

Actor Woody Harrelson and Cam Neely admiring the Stanley Cup while spending time at Martha's Vineyard.
Actor Woody Harrelson and Cam Neely
admiring the Stanley Cup while spending
time at Martha's Vineyard.
(Walt Neubrand/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Cam Neely accomplished a great deal in his abbreviated National Hockey League career. The immensely talented power forward scored 50+ goals in three of his injury-plagued thirteen seasons, and ultimately earned himself a home in the Hockey Hall of Fame. In 2007, Neely was named a vice-president of the Boston Bruins, where he enjoyed his most bountiful seasons. A promotion to president came in June 2010.

But during his playing career, split between the Vancouver Canucks and the Bruins, Cam was never fortunate enough to be on a Stanley Cup winner. That changed, of course, in June 2011 when the Bruins defeated those Canucks to earn hockey's greatest prize.

Cam Neely's celebration with the Stanley Cup began on Martha's Vineyard Wednesday, August 10. Landing at the airport, which is located smack dab in the middle of the island, the Stanley Cup was carefully carried from the plane by Neely, who cradled it in his arms, smiling like the butcher's dog. They drove to the Martha's Vineyard Ice Arena, placing the historic chalice on display for some 800 people who met Cam and took photos with the Cup.

Cam Neely and family posing for photos with Lord Stanley while spending time at Martha's Vineyard.
Cam Neely and family posing for photos with Lord Stanley while spending
time at Martha's Vineyard.
(Walt Neubrand/Hockey Hall of Fame)
The Cup was taken to the Chilmark Community Center, where youngsters were engaged in their summer program. Cam and his wife Paulina have two children - Jack and Ava - who have spent time playing sports and partaking in crafts and other activities at the center.

The Cup then made brief visits to the Chilmark and Aquinnah Police Departments, where the officers loved getting the opportunity to meet one of Boston's all-time greats and the iconic trophy.

A quick stop at his home preceded a cocktail reception at the home of a friend. The celebration was doubly enjoyable for Cam as not only was he savouring the Stanley Cup victory, but it happened to coincide with the fifteenth wedding anniversary for Cam and Paulina. There to celebrate both events were over 100 guests. The Farrelly Brothers (Peter and Bobby), screenwriters and directors of 'Dumb & Dumber' and 'Me, Myself and Irene' were there. Neely had cameos in both films as a character known as 'Sea Bass.' Actor Woody Harrelson, who starred in the long-running TV series, 'Cheers,' arrived to party with Cam and Paulina. Cam had a cameo in an episode of the popular series called 'The Improbable Dream.' Another arrival was Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, who was a fine hockey player at St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hamphire. Also noticed was Larry David, the co-creator of 'Seinfeld' and the creator and star of 'Curb Your Enthusiasm.'

The Stanley Cup on display at the Cam Neely Arena in Maple Ridge, BC.
The Stanley Cup on display at the Cam Neely Arena in Maple Ridge, BC.
(Walt Neubrand/Hockey Hall of Fame)
The catered party guests grew particularly quiet at dusk as they looked out over the bluff at the sun setting on the ocean. Photographs were taken around the property, including many with the setting sun in the background.

Fifteen or so people then joined the Neelys for a fine dinner at The State House.

August 11 was a travel day. Cam and the Cup flew from Martha's Vineyard to Boston, on to Montreal and then cross-country to Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Neely's hometown. His brother-in-law picked him up at the airport and they settled in for a halibut dinner at their home.

Cam Neely and the Stanley Cup posing for a photo in front of a Spirit of Wood Sport Hero Carving of Neely on display at the Cam Neely Arena in Maple Ridge, BC.
Cam Neely and the Stanley Cup
posing for a photo in front of a Spirit
of Wood Sport Hero Carving of Neely on display at the Cam Neely Arena
in Maple Ridge, BC.
(Walt Neubrand/Hockey Hall of Fame)
The next day (Friday, August 12), Cam took the Stanley Cup to the hometown arena that now bears his name. There was a unique hook to the public celebration at the Cam Neely Arena. Invitations were sent to family involved with the local minor hockey association, and drew an enthusiastic crowd of some 500 fans. Candidly, Maple Ridge is Canucks' country, and there were more than a few jerseys that reflected that allegiance, but Cam took it all in stride, and each one of the attendees was pleased to meet the Hall of Famer, a local boy made very good!

An item of great interest at the event was an image of Neely carved from a log. Unique and very, very well done.

The family took time for a solemn tribute to Michael and Marlene Neely, both of whom passed away from cancer. Cam took the Stanley Cup to a park where several years ago, his parents' ashes were spread, and spent some quiet time reflecting on how proud they would be. Back in Boston, Cam has honoured the memory of his parents through his own Foundation, which raises money to support the New England Medical Centre, including Neely House, a home away from home for out of town patients undergoing cancer treatments.

Cam thought it would be fun to stop by his childhood home - 2018 Meadow Place. "I gotta get a picture with the Stanley Cup standing in front of the home I grew up in," he smiled. The current residents weren't home, but Cam quickly stepped out of the vehicle and hoisted the Stanley Cup in front of the house where he spent so many years playing road hockey.

Cam Neely helping a friend enjoy a drink from the bowl of the Stanley Cup.
Cam Neely helping a friend enjoy a drink from the bowl of the Stanley Cup. (Walt Neubrand/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Family and friends gathered for dinner at Kingfishers Waterfront Bar and Grill, enjoying lambchops, ribs, wings and, for dessert, delicious Nanaimo bars. For those who have never enjoyed such a treat, you haven't lived. The National Post readers voted the Nanaimo Bars 'Canada's favourite confection.' They consist of a wafer crumb-based layer, topped by a layer of light vanilla or custard-flavoured butter icing and then covered in chocolate made from melted chocolate squares. Cam is well-versed in Nanaimo bars as even though they are served across Canada, Maple Ridge is but 64 miles (104 kms) from Nanaimo.

The Neely siblings, Cam and sisters Chris and Shaun, hung out at Chris's home, relaxing with the Stanley Cup at the close of the day. Former Vancouver teammate Garth Butcher and his family joined the Neelys to conclude a wonderful celebration.

* * *

Up next, it's Mark Recchi's turn with the Cup, and you'll find out how he celebrated the epitome of a brilliant career when we meet here on Tuesday. Join the Stanley Cup Journal then!

Kevin Shea is the Editor of Publications and Online Features for the Hockey Hall of Fame.

All Photographs are property of the Hockey Hall of Fame or Getty Images and may not be reproduced without prior written consent. For more information regarding use of our photographs please contact us.
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