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02-18-2013, 08:45 PM
  #84
Rob Scuderi
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C/D Neil "Frosty" Colville

(thanks to JFA for the basis of this bio)

- 5'11, 175 Ibs, Shoots: Right, Born 8/4/1914 in Edmonton, Alberta
- Member of the HHOF (1967)
- Stanley Cup Champion (1940)
- NHL 2nd All-Star Team, 3 Times (1939, 1940, *1948) *Defensemen
- Top-10 In Goals, 3 Times (10th-1938, 7th-1939, 6th-1940)
- Top-10 In Assists, 2 Times (10th-1940, 2nd-1941)
- Top-10 In Points, 4 Times (10th-1938, 10th-1939, 7th-1940, 7th-1941)
- NHL All-Star Game (1948)
- Captain of Rangers 1945-1948

All-Star Voting (Center): 2 (1939), 2 (1940), 3rd (1938)
All-Star Voting (Defense): 4th (1948), 7th (1947)
Hart Trophy Voting: 5th (1938)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey
Colville moved up to the Rangers in 1936 and later centered the "Bread Line" consisting of brother Mac and Alex Shibicky. Neil was both a prominent NHL playmaker and scorer until joining the war in 1942.

From 1942 to 1945, Neil served with the Canadian Armed Forces, stationed in Ottawa where he captained the 1942-43 Allan Cup-winning Ottawa Commandos.

Upon returing to the NHL near the end of the 1944-45 season, he and his brother, both a step slower, took their place on the blueline, the first ever brother combination to do so. Neil's conversion to defence was seamless, and he became the first player to be named to All-Star teams both as a forward and defenceman. He retired in 1949 and became coach of the Rangers a year later after serving New Haven in that capacity in the interim.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kings of the Ice
The trio clicked and remained intact for six years during which the three men were hailed for their nifty passing and accurate shooting. Neil was the backbone of the line, for it was his deceptive body motion that baffled defenders and created openings for the others. The line was called "the Bread Line" because it was formed at the height of the Great Depression...

According to Gene Ward of the New York Daily News, "With Neil as captain of the Rangers, it was like having a second coach out there on the ice."
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trail of the Stanley Cup, Vol. 2
Neil was the centre of the line that soon became masters of the pattern-passing style that Patrick had developed with their predecessors.

Neil moved back to defense in 1946 where he played with Ott Heller, Bill Juzda, and Bill Moe. His defensive ability and leadership helped steady a team that was in a rebuilding stage.
Bill Cook on the Colville and Shibicky line
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Calgary Daily Herald - 10/28/1936
"Our outstanding back-checking line, judging from their work here, probably will be the 'kid line.'"
Quote:
Originally Posted by New York Times - 1/7/1937
A Noteworthy First Offender

For a young fellow, practically a freshman, Neil Colville of the Rangers is attaining prominent notice on the crime calendar. Allan Shields has a long lead, but Neil is in the thick of the pursuing group of delinquents and may go through the season as the chief offender in a Ranger uniform.

It seems that Neil came up with a flashy reputation and some of the veterans of the league decided to find out whether or not the reputation was only skin deep. To do that, they had to get under his skin. In hockey, this operation usually is performed with the butt end of a stick. Neil underwent a number of such operations that were more or less successful and initiated at least an equal number of counter-operations of the same kind.

He found this give-and-take pleasant enough, but, unfortunately, the referees halted him ever and anon and ushered him to the calaboose to serve various sentences. Neil is a real find for the fun-loving spectators, but if Red Horner is going to be the big peace party of 1937, he ought to dye that red thatch of his. It doesn't look natural any more.
Quote:
Originally Posted by New York Times - 11/24/1937
The Maroons were given an opening soon after the start of the second when Pratt was banished for tripping R, but Neil and Mac Colville checked the wingmen to a standstill while he was off.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette - 1/11/1937
That one-goal lead lasted until the fourth minute of the second period when Neil Colville, young though grey-haired pivot who is a strong skater with a terrific shot, broke fast down centre, leaving the Maroon forwards behind.
Quote:
Originally Posted by New York Times - 12/12/1937
Kelly drilled a close-in drive off (goalie) pads in the opening minute and the Leafs went to work with four forwards when Coulter drew a penalty for holding, but...and Neil Colville made a great success of ragging the puck.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Edmonton Journal - 12/23/1937
New York scribes were pinning orchids on Neil Colville, Edmonton hockey product...Writing in the World-Telegram Jim Burchard says:

"The play that enabled the Rangers to win was one of the neatest exhibitions of solo stickhandling ever seen in Madison Square Garden. Even Normie Smith Red Wing goalie, doffed his hat to Neil Colville and called Neil's goal a masterpiece, adding Neil used his head, his hands, and his skates; when he finally let the puck go I was on my back picking butterflies.

"Always a cool, calculating...Neil flashed his stuff during a dizzy scramble before the Detroit nets. He took a pass from Alex Shibicky, eluded frantic Red Wings, and took his own sweet time about releasing the rubber. Not until Goalie Smith was prostrate did he act. They, with a quick snap of the wrists he lifted the puck to safe harbor."

It was a play that had enough class, Mr. Burchard goes on to state, to cause Lester Patrick to exclaim: "There's a hockey player. Brains combined with physical ability, I've never seen a finer piece of work."

Frank Boucher: "The Colville-Shibicky trio is something new in major league hockey. Instead of feeding his wings, Neil Colville is fed by them. He's the goal-getter of the threesome. Maybe it means a new era in strategy. Anyway, Neil scores plenty of goals and nobody can ask for more."

If you'd care for the estimate of Andy Lytle of the Toronto Star on Neil's puckchasing ability, take a gander at this, bearing in mind that Andrew has seen the best of them in his day:
"Neil Colville looks like a hockey player just as much as Bill Cook ever did. I say Cook because Neil with his young face and rapidly graying hair, has the thick, resistant body that Bill Cook had. He combines with Cook's strength with a lot of Boucher's speed and weaving skill with a puck at his flying feet. Like Apps, when Neil appears to be stopped in his tracks, somehow in the next breathless instant he is sailing on again."
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...g=4720,5362151

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Calgary Herald - 3/10/1939
Colville, who is sturdy and effective, is the key man of the Rangers' one-two-three-alaree-four-five-six-alaree style of passing the puck.
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...g=1564,1061144

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Leader-Post - 10/17/1941
Boucher said that Neil Colville and Patrick revealed natural aptitude for defence work...
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...g=1582,4960945

Nick Metz describing Colville while playing against him as part of teams with armed forces
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Windsor Daily Star - 4/21/1943
..."we've got to stop that grey-haired guy, even if it means taking penalties. He's 75 percent of their team...Stick-check him and that big line will pass you right into the goalmouth."
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...g=3833,5143001

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Leader-Post - 4/22/1943
Commandos are too powerful to permit that. Neil Colville alone, the grey-haired wizard who made New York Rangers so popular and pleasing to watch, will see to it. His forechecking tosses rivals off-balance, his uncanny ability to be where the puck lands, drives a defence frantic.

Regina saw a master perform when they watched Neil at work on Wednesday. His brother Mac and Alex Shibicky are top hands in the puck business-but there's only one Neil Colville. Any NHL team today would mortgage its rink to have him on the lineup.
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...g=1488,4710255

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ottawa Citizen - 10/4/1945
The end of the war brought the return of Neil Colville and Alex Shibicky, members of a line few years back whose checkerboard passing plays were the delight of Ranger fans. However, Neil Colville may move back to a defence position this season because brother Mac Colville, the other member of the trio, is still in England and is not expected back this year.
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...pg=3618,752255

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette - 11/17/1945
"We have a good team on paper." Boucher said here last Thursday, but some of the boys just haven't been playing up to the form expected of them. Of the veterans who rejoined the club this season from the services, Neil Colville is the only one to come through thus far."
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...g=4680,2730832

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Telegraph - 2/2/1948
Ranger captain Neil Colville was asked whether he noticed much difference since he shifted from the front line to a defense position.

"You can be stupid up front and get away with it," said Colville.
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...g=6918,2512278

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ottawa Citizen - 10/13/1948
Colville, who has been a Ranger since the 1936-37 season except for his Army service...still has plenty of savvy on the defence and plenty of craft and ability on the offensive. The grey-thatched Colville would appear to have hockey for Boucher and the Rangers just when they need it the most.
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...g=6279,3112865

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette - 10/5/1949
A bulwark of that defence will be Neil Colville, the 33 year old grey-thatched Ranger captain who was Boucher's teammate back in 1936-37.
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...g=6133,1145999

Quote:
Originally Posted by New York Times - 6/29/1950
The Lone Ranger rides again. There's a new man in the leading role, however. He's a handsome, grey-haired youth of 35, Neil Colville, and he won't have a faithful Tonto to help him...

Yet he must have been a natural from the very beginning. Back in 1935 Neil was playing forward for the Brooklyn Crescents, predecessors to the New York Rovers as an "amateur" farm team to the Broadway Blues. Nels Stewart watched the 21 year old boy in action for a while and nodded in his direction.

"There's a boy who has hockey brains," drawled the greatest scorer in hockey history. "Right now he's about as good as anything in the National Hockey League."

That was a time when Neil began working on the manufacture of his ulcers. As a player he had been aggressive without being extraordinarily rough or a picker of fights. But as a coach he soon found himself involved in some high-class brawls, including one with his old pal and teammate, Art (sic) Heller.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Sunday Sun - 6/7/1957
Remember the way Neil Colville shifted to beat a defenceman and the way he could stickhandle to set up one of his forwards?
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...g=6107,1254715

Quote:
Originally Posted by New York Times - 6/2/2003
''I did all the backchecking,'' Mac told The Globe and Mail of Toronto in 1986. ''Old Lester Patrick told us never to give the puck away because the other team couldn't score if we had it,'' he added, referring to the Rangers' general manager.
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/02/sp...e-rangers.html


Last edited by Rob Scuderi: 04-17-2013 at 05:09 PM.
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