The first-year team president was numb as he walked across the ice Wednesday night at Rogers Arena moments after the Bruins won the Stanley Cup by defeating the Vancouver Canucks 4-0. As Neely stood on the ice, in a suit, watching the players celebrate their victory, the song “Good Life” by OneRepublic was blaring over the sound system.
“As you can imagine, this is so special,” Neely said. “To be a part of a Stanley Cup-winning team ... I’m very proud of the players and the coaching staff. Peter [Chiarelli], Don [Sweeney] and Jimmy [Benning], the job that they did. It’s special.”
When Neely was named president of the Bruins last summer, the first thing he said was that he wanted to win a Cup for the fans. He reiterated that point again as the Cup was being passed around him Wednesday night.
“This is absolutely for the fans, they deserve it,” Neely said. “The players did everything they could to win this Cup and it’s an amazing feeling. That fan base has waited for a long, long time for this to happen again. There’s been a lot of heartache, so I’m extremely happy for the fans of the Bruins and the fans of New England.
“This is an incredible feeling. It’s hard to really put it into words," Neely added. "It’s an amazing feeling and I’m just so proud. I’m proud of the players, the way they played. I’m proud of the coaching staff. It’s a special, special moment right now.”
Neely was asked what the key was for this team to finally win the Cup.
“The key word is ‘team’ because all these guys care about each other,” he said. “There’s a bunch of great character in that locker room. This is a team for sure.”
Neely calls Boston his home. He’s witnessed the Red Sox, Celtics and Patriots all win titles and he wanted the Black and Gold to be a part of that special fraternity.
The Bruins are now.
“It’s hard to put into words,” Neely said. “It’s such a special feeling to win the last hockey game of the season. It’s an incredible feeling.”