into the Hall of Fame in 1956.
Nova Scotia born George
McNeil was an outstanding coach in the post-war Scottish National
A versatile defenceman
and right-winger in his playing days, the ginger-haired six-footer
arrived in London in 1936 to join the Richmond Hawks of the English
National League. In that first season, he scored 8 goals and 3 assists
and served 10 penalty minutes. He also iced four games that first season
for the Brighton Tigers, before returning to the capital and the Earls
Court Rangers for the following season.
McNeil ventured north to
Scotland in 1938 to spend two seasons with the Dundee Tigers and twice
finished in the league’s top ten points scorers with an (incomplete)
total of 26 goals and 27 assists. After the Second World War, he
rejoined Dundee, staying a further two seasons, but this time behind the
bench as coach. In his second season as coach, the team won the Anderson
Trophy as playoff champions and McNeil was voted coach of the All Star
From Dundee, he joined
Falkirk Lions, combining the roles of coach and manager and whilst the
team did not win the SNL crown, he repeated the Anderson Trophy success
in his first two years, again in 1953/54 and won the Scottish Cup in
48/49. His coaching methods were so highly regarded that a run of four
consecutive B-team selections followed, only broken by a year as a
senior referee on the circuit at the request of the SIHA.
1954 was his final year
as a coach, the same year that the English and Scottish leagues combined
into the 12-member British National League. McNeil was not overawed by
the strength of the opposition and guided Falkirk to runners-up in the
Autumn Cup and a fourth place league finish – recognised by yet
another B-team All Star coaching selection.
A spell as manger of the
Falkirk rink ended as, together with his Dundee born wife Eveline,
George McNeil moved to America in 1956. He stayed involved with the game
he loved becoming a charter member of the NHL Philadelphia Flyers.
As well as his coaching
successes, George McNeil will be remembered as a discoverer and
developer of outstanding home grown talent with the junior Cubs. Players
such as Thomas ‘Red’ Imrie, Bill Sneddon, Joe McIntosh and Marsh Key
at Dundee are among many others whose future he helped and progress he
George McNeil died in
December 1997 in his Philadelphia home.
Compiled with research, provided
Martin C.Harris –