MacNeil played parts of eleven seasons in the National Hockey League as a defenceman with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Black Hawks, New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins.
Upon retiring as a player, MacNeil turned to coaching with the Montreal Voyageurs of the American Hockey League, top farm club of the Canadiens, for the 1969-70 season. After a successful debut, MacNeil became an assistant coach to Claude Ruel of the NHL Canadiens for the 1970-71 season.
He was the first person from the Maritime region of Canada to be a head coach in the NHL and won the Stanley Cup for the Montreal Canadiens in 1971.
On Friday, July 8, at 3 pm in a ceremony the Cape Breton University Boardmore Playhouse, MacNeil will receive an honorary degree from CBU. All are welcome to attend this event.
The Builder of Champions Gala is set for Friday, July 8, 7:30 pm, at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre, to honour the accomplishments of Al MacNeil and his contributions to the game of hockey. Tickets for this event are $150 per person.
Under the auspices of the Creating Champions Campaign, a fundraising initiative to raise $2 million to create an endowment fund specifically for scholarships and bursaries for student-athletes, the Al MacNeil Builder of Champions Scholarship has been established, ensuring that his legacy lives on.
It is just one of several events scheduled for July 8th and 9th to acknowledge MacNeil’s career accomplishments.
On Saturday, July 9, from 10 am to 2 pm, the Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation Hockey Day in Cape Breton, takes place at Cape Breton University’s Canada Games Complex. This family event will highlight the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Interactive Tour Display, which will be coming to Cape Breton for the first time, allowing hockey fans, young and old, to experience an array of interactive games, memorabilia and NHL trophies. This event, which has been financially supported by ECBC, is a fitting finale to a spectacular celebration.
Entry into the ECBC Hockey Day in Cape Breton is $5 for students and seniors, $10 per adult and $20 for a family of four. Funds raised will go to Cape Breton University’s Creating Champions Campaign.
The event promises to interest and excite hockey fans of all ages. Fans will also have access to the new Hockey Hall of Fame Legends exhibit, photo and video archives, along with the hockey art collection. In addition to the displays, fans can test their skills by participating in interactive games, including an electronic hockey net and the radar-hardest shot game.
The Hockey Hall of Fame management invites community members to bring along hockey memorabilia that may have significant historical value. Given Cape Breton’s longstanding hockey history, this should attract some notable pieces and colorful stories of past hockey legends.
For more information visit www.cbu.ca/champions.