Boston Bruins legend and Hall of Famer Cam Neely was introduced today as the team's new President. Neely will be the eighth man in club history to hold the post. According to Bruins Principal Charlie Jacobs, "both hockey operations and business [operations] will be reporting to Cam." The junior Jacobs also added immediately after the previous statement, "My role in the organization will not be changing. Moving forward I will continue to serve as the club’s Principal."
While having #8 in the corner office as President of the team will give some fans a nice warm fuzzy feeling, let's be honest, not much has changed. This was a calculated move to try to win back some fans. Obviously Neely will have some decision-making powers, but at the end of the day this team is still being run by the same old guard. Charlie Jacobs will be making the business decisions while his old man is counting his money in Buffalo and Harry Sinden is doing whatever it is that he does nowadays.
I expect Neely to have a significant role in hockey operations, but I doubt he will have much say on the business end of things. Think about it. Jeremy Jacobs is a shrewd businessman (love him or hate him, you have to admit that). He is not going to hand over the keys to his family business to a guy with very little business experience and a high school education.
One of the problems I see with the new organization structure of the Bruins is that nobody really seems to know what the structure is. Neely's role does not seem clearly defined. We have heard Charlie Jacobs say that everyone is reporting to Cam, but everyone in the organization (including the Owner, Principal, and newly-appointed President) seem a little confused about what his role will be.
Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs and Cam Neely were both guests on Felger & Massarotti on 98.5 The Sports Hub this afternoon. When asked if Claude Julien and Peter Chiarelli would ultimately be reporting to Neely, Jacobs' stammering answer didn't instill to me that Cam has much more power than he did yesterday at this time. Cam was asked during his interview if it "was his show". Neely responded by saying, "Well as far as I know from ownership everything runs through the President's office so I would assume that that's part of it". That doesn't sound like a man who has a clear grasp of the expectations and duties of the position has has just accepted.
I hope Cam Neely is more than a figurehead and he gets to make some important decisions about this franchise, but I just don't see that happening while Charlie Jacobs is still in Boston on a day-to-day basis and Harry Sinden is still wandering aimlessly throughout the hallways of TD garden.
Check out full audio from Jeremy Jacobs and Cam Neely on Felger & Mazz: