Billy McNeill
POSITION: Right Wing
HEIGHT: 5' 10"
BIRTHDATE: 01/26/1936
DRAFTED: undrafted
WHL First All-Star Team (1965, 1966) Leader Cup (MVP WHL) (1965, 1966) Traded to NY Rangers by Detroit with Red Kelly for Eddie Shack and Bill Gadsby, February 5, 1960. Kelly and McNeill refused to report and transaction was cancelled, February 7, 1960. Suspended by Detroit for remainder of 1959-60 season for failing to report to NY Rangers, February 7, 1960. Claimed by NY Rangers from Detroit in Intra-League Draft, June 7, 1960. Retired from hockey in order to pursue business interests in Edmonton, Summer, 1960. Rights traded to Detroit (Edmonton-WHL) by NY Rangers for cash, January, 1961. Traded to Vancouver (WHL) by Detroit for Barrie Ross and future considerations, January, 1964. Traded to Salt Lake (WHL) by Vancouver (WHL) for Germain Gagnon and cash, August 19, 1969. Missed majority of 1969-70 due to ankle injury vs. Phoenix (WHL), November 11, 1969.
Right winger Billy McNeill was a decent role player for parts of six seasons with the Detroit Red Wings in the 50s and 60s. He was a reliable goal-scorer in junior and a long time success story in the WHL.

The Edmonton native was a junior star with the local Oil Kings when they dominated the WCJHL during the early 50s. McNeill was recalled to the Wings following serious injuries to Alex Delvecchio and Bill Dineen. During his first pro season in 1955-56 he scored 50 points and put forth a consistent effort. The next year he played 64 games mostly on the same line as Marty Pavelich and Johnny Bucyk. He split the 1957-58 season between Detroit and the WHL's Edmonton Flyers then took part in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the only time in his career.

Through the 1963-64 season, McNeill spent more than half of his time in the NHL as a reliable checker and occasional goal scorer. The rest of his time was spent with Edmonton where he usually averaged over a point per game. In February, 1960 he was traded to the New York Rangers with Red Kelly for Eddie Shack and Bill Gadsby. McNeill made headlines when his refusal to report killed the transaction.

By the mid-60s, McNeill's NHL days were finished. He continued his career in the WHL and became one of the top attractions in the league. The tricky forward played his best hockey for the Vancouver Canucks and was named the winner of the Leader Cup as league MVP in 1965 and 1966. He was also selected to the first all-star team both of those years. He retired in 1971 after spending a year with the WHL's San Diego Gulls.

Courtesy of the Hockey Hall of Fame