There were rumors of a potential retirement for veteran National Hockey League enforcer Chris Neil, but that no longer sounds like the case at all. The 38-year-old is adamant: he will play in the NHL next season.
"I'm confident, because of the chats we've had with teams," Neil said Thursday, according to Don Brennan of Postmedia. "You look at the free-agent players that are out there now, there's a lot of veteran players that are good reliable players, and I'm one of those guys. You can't read too much into it. It's no different than any other year. I'm just kind of sitting back and enjoying the summer, and spending time with my family."
It's unclear at this time which teams have reached out to Neil, but it will be interesting to see how the fan base of the team that acquires him will react to one of the most notorious enforcers in the league joining their ranks.
Neil has been one of the most reviled players in the league during his career, although he's the type of player that you love to have on your team, and hate to play against. He played 1,026 NHL games, in which he recorded 112 goals and 138 assists for 250 points, and 2522 penalty minutes. He played 15 seasons with the Ottawa Senators.