Neil Gordon Sanford- 1935 (1913-1955)

…an English rugby and hockey star

Neil G. Sanford, a graduate of 1935, was an outstanding multi-sport athlete who starred on Acadia swimming, football and hockey teams from the Fall of ’31 to the Spring of ’35.

On the football field, Neil or “Nelly” as he was affectionately called began his heroics during the Fall of ’31 as he, Arnold Tedford, Bernie Ralston, Booby Fraser, Captain Pat Hunter and a host of others sparkled in 13-0 and 9-0 victories over King’s College as the Fred Kelly-coached squad captured the Provincial Intercollegiate crown. The subsequent fall, he shared the limelight with the likes of Johnnie Wilson, Bob Goudey and Charlie Foote as the club defeated St. F.:X., 7-0 to again win the Provincial crown. During the Fall of ’33, Neil was in the company of Leon Shaw, Arnold Tedford and Glen Fountain as the Kellymen defeated King’s College to again earn the Provincial Championship. In ’34, Neil and teammates bowed to St. F.X. in collegiate play, but defeated Halifax Wanderers to capture the City League title.

In hockey, Neil was even more effective, being a key figure on Acadia’s ’32 to ’35 squads that captured the Valley League Championship in ’32 and the Provincial Intercollegiate and the Western Nova Scotia Senior Titles in ’34. That latter season represented the highlight of his career as he starred on the championship squad that was coached by Fred Kelly and captained

, by “Toby” MacMillan. By defeating the Kentville Wildcats ,and their legendary star “Chick” Marchant for the Valley League title, Neil shared the accolades with netminder “Chuck” Eaton, MacMillan, Orville MacCausland and Leon Shaw. In intercollegiate play, the Acadia team edged St. F.:X., 4-3 as “Nelly” on a pass from Bob Lawrence in the first overtime session registered the winner. Then by virtue of a 3-2 victory over Dalhousie, the boys became Provincial College Champs.

An interesting article that appeared in the March 31, 1939 edition of the Athenaeum best summarizes the hockey skills of this former Acadia great:

Neil Sanford, who centred the Acadia forward trios for several seasons, started the season with Wolfville Coho.rts in the Eastern Nova Scotia Hockey League, and it was he who set what is believed to be a Maritime individual scoring record. Down at Shelburne in early February , .’Nelly” turned from being a school teacher and led Lockeport Sea-Ravens to a 16-6 victory over the Loyalists. The former Acadia boy garnered all sixteen goals, by twisting his way each time and personally accounting for a continual flashing of the red light.

It is fitting to add to the list of inductees to Acadia’s Sports Hall of Fame” the name of Neil Sanford, who passed away in 1955.