ROBERT O’NEILL

 

Date of Birth: 1956
Place of Birth: St. John’s, NL
Inducted: 2019 (Player Category)

For 11 seasons, Bob O’Neill quietly starred in the Newfoundland Senior Hockey League, winning four Herder Memorial Trophy championships.

A big, skilled defenceman who could move the puck and play an aggressive game, O’Neill was a standout at Gonzaga high school before a brief stint of junior A hockey in Ottawa.

After returning home, he broke into senior hockey with the Labatt BlueCaps and joined the Shamrocks in 1977-78 to form a formidable defensive pairing with fellow Hall of Famer Bill Breen.

Following a stellar regular season campaign of 10 goals and 21 points, O’Neill was a key player for the Shamrocks in their improbable run to the 1979 Herder.

In Game 7 of the series and the score tied 4-4, Kirk Johnson of the Gander Flyers scored in overtime. With 26 seconds left on the clock, O’Neill scored, setting the stage for double OT and Ron Cadigan’s game-winning goal.

O’Neill had four goals in that final.

He would suit up for the Shamrocks for the next four years before joining the Corner Brook Royals in 1984-85, winning the first of two Herders.

The 1986, the Royals won Newfoundland’s first Allan Cup as Canadian senior hockey champs. O’Neill is the fourth highest-scoring defenceman for Newfoundland teams in Allan Cup play, trailing only long-time teammate Nigel Facey, import Steve McKenzie and the great George Faulkner
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O’Neill finished up his career with the St. John’s Capitals in 1986-87, a Caps squad that dominated from start to finish en route to winning the Herder.

Despite being a defenceman, O’Neill had impressive senior career stats — 56 goals, 82 assists for 138 points in 176 games.