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Grey Highlands plans to honour former NHLer Chris Neil

Rough-and-tumble forward from Flesherton played more than 1,000 games, all with the Ottawa Senators
Chris Neil's jersey was retired Friday, Feb. 17, 2023, at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa.

The Municipality of Grey Highlands is planning to create a permanent monument to recognize former NHL forward Chris Neil.

At its meeting on March 15, council passed a resolution from Coun. Paul Allen to begin the process to create a permanent form of recognition in Flesherton to honour Neil.

In February, the Ottawa Senators retired Neil’s No. 25 at a special ceremony.

Neil, who grew up and played minor hockey in Flesherton, played 15 seasons with the Senators and 1,026 games.

“I think when we have a player in the NHL and the team retired his sweater – one of only four Ottawa Senators – it’s appropriate to put up a permanent form of recognition in his home town of Flesherton,” said Allen.

Currently, there is a temporary sign in Flesherton that recognizes Neil’s accomplishments in the NHL.

The right-winger scored 112 regular-season goals and added 138 assists while also amassing more than 2,500 penalty minutes. He also had nine goals, 10 assists and more than 200 penalty minutes in 95 playoff games. 

Allen’s resolution sought permission for the Flesherton beautification and improvement committee to look at options, gather community feedback and make a recommendation about permanent recognition for Neil.

Council approved the solution unanimously.

“We’re really hoping we can get an Ottawa Senators logo on this,” said Allen, adding that it may be most appropriate for the municipality to request permission from the Senators or the NHL itself to use the logo.

Members of council were hopeful that Neil would be able to attend an unveiling event.

“I wholeheartedly support this and I’m hoping we can convince Chris to make a personal appearance,” said Coun. Tom Allwood.

Allen said they hope to have something in place by spring or summer 2023.

Neil also played three seasons in the Ontario Hockey League with the North Bay Centennials, from 1996 to 1999.

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About the Author: Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Chris Fell covers The Blue Mountains and Grey Highlands under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada
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