Conrad (Connie) MacNeil ’52, ‘53 – Builder

For the past 60 years Connie MacNeil has been a tireless promoter and advocate of athletic excellence and fair play, and his commitment stands as a shining example to countless students and alumni of what Acadia hockey and sports in general are all about.

A Glace Bay native, he made the hockey Axemen as a freshman and played four seasons of varsity hockey for Acadia, from 1949-1953. He also played rugby and was involved in the track and field and baseball teams.
As a hockey player, Connie was fleet of foot, possessed a hard-accurate shot and received the prestigious Orlay Bligh trophy as the team MVP in his final year. He has described himself as “an opportunist” around the net, evidenced most notably by scoring three goals in six seconds on Feb. 27, 1950; a record that has stood for more than six decades, and which, in fact, may never be broken.

And while he never again matched the notoriety of that feat, he put together a solid career with the Axemen. At the same time, his contributions to his alma mater were just beginning.
Connie earned two degrees from Acadia: an undergraduate degree in 1952 and a Bachelor of Education in 1953. He credits his Acadia hockey coach, Major Fred Kelly, with helping him decide to pursue a career as an educator and he became a pioneer in the teaching of physical education in Nova Scotia.

Acknowledged as a terrific educator, Connie was also a successful soccer and basketball coach, which benefited Acadia in the form of many students and athletes being attracted to the University who are now proud alumni.

For instance, nine athletes who played for him on the 1969 Nova Scotia Canada Games soccer team ended up at Acadia as student-athletes. Two of the athletes that Connie was key in developing while coaching at Horton High School were on the 1971 men’s CIAU championship basketball team.

During his career, Connie worked to maintain his connection with the Acadia community. He has always been a great ambassador and is described by many of his contemporaries as “a true icon of Acadia sport.”
He remains a regular attendee at Acadia hockey games as well as an avid supporter of other varsity teams. In fact, Connie was one of many alumni who were instrumental in the formation of the Acadia Hockey Blueline Club and Honour Roll. He served on the Planning-Building committee for the new Arena and the Acadia Sports Hall of Fame and is a past Alumni Board member.

Head hockey coach Darren Burns says Connie has been a key ‘behind the scenes’ guy who is always enhancing Acadia hockey, and over the years has been viewed as a father figure and highly regarded by coaches and players.

A dedicated, modest and caring man, he cherishes his many friends within the Acadia community. Indeed, a university can ask no more of its graduates than that they are solid and respected citizens, reach the pinnacle of their chosen profession and are active and dedicated alumni.
Connie MacNeil has been all that and more. Please join me in welcoming to the Acadia Sports Hall of Fame, in the Builder category, Conrad (Connie) MacNeil, a dedicated alumnus and supporter of Acadia and all its athletic teams