Rocky Bromley wasn’t shocked by any means to hear the Corner Brook Royals will be retiring the No. 24 jersey worn by the late Shawn Neary.
Bromley believes it’s a nice gesture to be bestowed on a guy who he felt was one of the best teammates he ever had and certainly one of the best multi-sports athletes he ever met.
Bromley and Neary, who died in 2016 at the age of 43, were teammates on the Corner Brook Royals squad that won the Herder Memorial Trophy in 2002 — the last time the Royals won the coveted trophy symbolic of senior hockey supremacy in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Bromley said his buddy was an integral part of the championship team in 2002. He said Neary was an offensive producer who brought versatility to the rink with his ability to drop back on defence when the team had injuries, but more importantly he led by example by throwing his body around, blocking shots and dropping the mitts with anybody who tried to take liberties on one of his teammates.
Bromley was only too proud to call Neary a teammate and a friend, and he’s happy to see the Royals honour his friend so many years after the two of them left the senior hockey circle.
“He was as good as they come,” Bromley said.
The Royals will present Neary’s family with his No. 24 jersey before Friday night’s West Coast Senior Hockey League game against the Port aux Basques Mariners 8 p.m. at the Corner Brook Civic Centre.