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Harry Neale
Born March 9, 1937 (1937-03-09) (age 72)
Occupation sports announcer

Harry Neale (born March 9, 1937 in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada) is a hockey colour commentator, who currently works for the Buffalo Sabres on the MSG Network and WGR. He is a former NHL and WHA coach and General Manager.

Coaching career

Prior to his broadcasting career, Neale was an NHL head coach for the Detroit Red Wings and Vancouver Canucks, where he was also the General Manager from 1982–83 to 1984–85. In the WHA he coached the New England Whalers and Minnesota Fighting Saints, and in the OHA's he coached the Toronto Marlboros. He was also an assistant coach for the U.S. team at the 1976 Canada Cup. In the 1977-78 WHA season he coached the Whalers to the Avco Cup Finals as well only to lose to the Winnipeg Jets.

Following that season, he was hired by the Canucks in 1978 and coached the team for four seasons. Late in the 1981-82 season, he was involved in an altercation with fans during a game in Quebec City against the Nordiques and was suspended for ten games. His assistant, Roger Neilson, took the job temporarily, but when the team lost only once in those ten games Neilson was left behind the bench, which resulted in the team's Cinderella run to the Stanley Cup Finals. At season's end, Neale was promoted to General Manager (an arrangement made prior to the suspension) and Neilson remained as the team's permanent head coach.

Neale returned to the Canucks bench in January 1984 after firing Neilson and again in November 1984 after firing Bill LaForge twenty games into the season. In April 1985, Neale was relieved of his duties with the Canucks and he was hired to coach the Detroit Red Wings. However, after a poor start, Neale was fired after thirty-five games.

During his coaching career, he was known for his dry wit, which came out in comments to the media. One of his most famous quotes came when he was coaching the Canucks during the 1981–82 season, when he quipped, "Last season we couldn't win at home. This season we can't win on the road. My failure as a coach is I can't think of any place else to play."

Personal life

Harry is recently divorced from his wife and he has three children Sarah, Lauren Neale, and David Neale.

Broadcast career

During his coaching and managerial career, he sometimes worked for Hockey Night in Canada as an analyst in the playoffs, in the event his team did not qualify. He then began working as a broadcaster full-time in 1986. That year, he was first teamed with play-by-play man Bob Cole on CBC. Together, the pair broadcast twenty Stanley Cup Finals. During this time he also provided color commentary for locally televised Toronto Maple Leafs games. During his tenure, he was paired with play-by-play broadcasters Jim Hughson, Ken Daniels, Jiggs McDonald, and Joe Bowen. He left the Toronto telecasts after the 2006–07 season to join the Buffalo Sabres broadcast team.

As a color commentator, Neale has covered the 1998, 2002, and 2006 Winter Olympics and the World Cup of Hockey in 1996 and 2004. He is known for the same sense of humor he was famous for as a coach, often referring to the puck as "..bouncing like an Indian Rubber (lacrosse) ball", as well as for his estimations of exact distances on the ice. For example, ". . . a shot from thirty-eight feet out . . .". In sportscasting, he often refers to a weak goal as one with an "odor" to it. Other humorous calls include Neale describing Sean Avery as "liked about as much as a rattle snake at a picnic" and humorously commenting on a player's outspokenness, saying "He's got more tongue than a lumberjacks boot."

He is currently the colour commentator for the Buffalo Sabres and is paired with Rick Jeanneret.

Neale lives in East Amherst, New York.



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