|6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
215 lb (98 kg)
|NHL Team||Ottawa Senators|
|Born||June 18, 1979,|
Flesherton, ON, CAN
|NHL Draft||161st overall, 1998|
|Pro Career||2001 – present|
Playing career[edit | edit source]
Early years[edit | edit source]
Neil started out playing minor hockey in the town of Flesherton, Ontario. He later played for the Grey-Bruce Highlanders of the South-Central Triple A Hockey League before getting his junior hockey start with the Junior "B" Orangeville Crushers. He played three successful junior seasons with the OHL's North Bay Centennials. In his final junior season in North Bay, Neil had a career year and gave an indication that he could be more than merely a physical presence, scoring 72 points in 66 games.
NHL career[edit | edit source]
Chris Neil was drafted by the Ottawa Senators in the 6th round (161st overall) of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. Ottawa management prized his toughness and work ethic and saw Neil as a player who would potentially fill a much needed role on the team for years to come. Neil spent two seasons with Ottawa's AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids, racking up back to back seasons of 300+ penalty minutes and establishing himself as a solid team player at the pro level.
Leading up to the 2001–02 season, he had a strong training camp and made the Ottawa lineup. He made his NHL debut on October 3, 2001 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The next night, he got his first NHL point in a game against the Montreal Canadiens. On October 30, 2001, Chris scored his first goal against the Atlanta Thrashers. In his rookie season, Neil appeared in 72 games and scored 17 points, while accumulating 231 penalty minutes and establishing himself as a fearless combatant.
The 2005–06 season saw Neil's role with the Senators expand. When Brian McGrattan made the Ottawa lineup out of training camp, much of the responsibilities as "team enforcer" were lifted off Neil's shoulders, and he was given the opportunity to contribute in a more offensive role. He responded, and posted the best offensive totals of his NHL career with 16 goals and 33 points. The following season, Neil posted similar numbers with 12 goals and 28 points while leading the NHL in hits. The coaching staff rewarded him with special teams assignments, and he received regular powerplay shifts.
As the 2007–08 season unfolded, Brian McGrattan saw very limited ice time, and Neil was once again called upon to act as the Senators' enforcer and primary physical presence on many nights. As a result, his offensive production declined, though he did finish the season with a respectable 20 points.
Neil had a disappointing 2008-09 season, registering only 10 points, his lowest total since his rookie season, and the Senators missed the playoffs for the first time during his tenure in Ottawa. After the season, Neil became an unrestricted free agent, and there was speculation that he would sign elsewhere. Instead, he signed a new 4-year contract with the Senators worth $8 million.
Personal[edit | edit source]
Before Neil was married, he and teammate Mike Fisher were roommates. The pair remain close to this day, and are both devout Christians. On June 1, 2007, at 11:05 p.m., Neil and his wife, Caitlin, celebrated the birth of their first child named Hailey Jean, weighing 6 lbs. and 10 ounces. In the next game, he scored an important goal which he dedicated to her.
Neil counts Denis Savard as his favorite player growing up. He lists four-wheeling, boating, and horseback riding as his favorite hobbies.
On July 14, 2011, Neil and his wife Caitlin were introduced as the new honorary chairs of Rogers House, an Ottawa charity which provides a home away from home for sick children and their families.
Career statistics[edit | edit source]
|1996–97||North Bay Centennials||OHL||65||13||16||29||150||—||—||—||—||—|
|1997–98||North Bay Centennials||OHL||59||26||29||55||231||—||—||—||—||—|
|1998–99||North Bay Centennials||OHL||66||26||46||72||215||4||1||0||1||15|
|1999–00||Grand Rapids Griffins||IHL||51||9||10||19||301||8||0||2||2||24|
|2000–01||Grand Rapids Griffins||IHL||78||15||21||36||354||10||2||2||4||22|
References[edit | edit source]
- Chris Neil profile at sportsnet.ca. sportsnet.ca. Retrieved on 2008-12-30.
- Chris Neil profile at hockeydb.com. hockeydb.com. Retrieved on 2008-12-30.
- Chris Neil Takes Less Money to Stay in Ottawa, TSN.ca, retrieved on October 1, 2009.
- http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Columnists/Garrioch/2009/05/17/9485996-sun.html A place for Chris Neil to find serenity
- http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Hockey/NHL/Ottawa/2011/07/13/18416931-qmi.html Tears of a tough guy
[edit | edit source]
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