Neil McNeil Colville - Born August 4, 1914 in Edmonton, Alberta – Died December 26, 1987 in Richmond, British Columbia was a professional ice Hockey centre and defenseman.
Colville played his minor and junior Hockey in Edmonton, where he played for the Edmonton Enarcos in 1929-30, Edmonton Canadians 1930-31, Edmonton Poolers 1931-32 and the Edmonton Athletic Club from 1932 to 1934, helping them win the 1934 Abbott Cup championship, but losing in the 1934 Memorial Cup final.
Early in 1934, he joined the New York Crescents, a New York Rangers' farm team in the Eastern Amateur Hockey League, helping them win the league title. He advanced to the Philadelphia Ramblers for the 1935-36 season, and the club not only won the American Hockey League / AHL league championship, but Colville was the leading scorer until about six weeks from the end of the scheduled when he was sidelined by an injury.
Colville moved up to the Rangers in 1936 and later centered the "Bread Line" with his brother Mac and Alex Shibicky. They formed one of the greatest lines in the N.H.L.'s six-team era and anchored the Rangers when they won the Stanley Cup in 1940. Known as the Bread Line, the three were groomed by Lester Patrick. 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 and his brother were playing for the Ottawa Army, and he captained the 1943 Allan Cup-winning Ottawa Commandos.
After the war, they both returned the Rangers, this time as defenseman, the first pairs of brothers to ever do so in the NHL. Neil was adept at both defence and offense. Previously, he was erroneously reported here to be the first player to be named to All-Star Teams as both a forward and a defenseman; though he did indeed accomplish the dual feat, the first to do so was the venerable Dit Clapper in 1931/1938.
Colville retired in 1949 and became coach of the Rangers a year later after serving New Haven in that capacity in the interim.
At 36, he was the league's youngest bench boss, but he held the position for just a year and a half. Ulcers had forced him to adopt a strictly milk diet and he had half his stomach removed.
Neil Colville was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1967.
Colville was named to the Selection Committee of the Hockey Hall of Fame, but in 1984 he lost a leg to cancer and stepped down.