Neil Smith is the former President and General Manager of the New York Rangers Hockey Club and the architect of the 1993-1994 Stanley Cup Champion Team. His 11 years running the club is one of the most successful and memorable periods in team history. He was named General Manager in 1989 and in 1992, was promoted to President and General Manager.
The Rangers compiled a record of 396-349-217-3, ranking among the elite NHL clubs of that period. In 1993-1994 Smith’s diligence and persistence to build the Rangers into Stanley Cup Champions came to fruition in 1994 when the team captured the fourth Stanley Cup in franchise history, defeating the Vancouver Canucks. The championship was the culmination of a record setting season and New York became the first team since the Presidents’ Trophy was established to win it, along with the Conference Championship and Stanley Cup, in the same season. Following the season, Neil was awarded the The Hockey News Executive of the Year Award, was also honored by the New Jersey Sports Writers Association as their Executive of the Year and was named the NHL Executive of the Year by Sporting News, as voted by NHL General Managers and Governors, becoming the first Rangers executive to ever capture the award.
Prior to being hired by the New York Rangers, Smith worked 7 years for the Detroit Red Wings where he oversaw their scouting and player development and was General Manager of their American Hockey League club capturing that league’s championship twice in 4 seasons. Smith started his professional hockey management career with the New York Islanders in 1980 to 1982 as a pro scout.
A native of Toronto, Ontario, Neil graduated from Western Michigan University where he became an All-American defenseman as a freshman and team captain in his sophomore season. In September of 1991, Neil was inducted to the school’s Sports Hall of Fame, the first hockey player ever given the honor. In 1996, Neil was awarded the WMU Alumni Association’s “Distinguished Alumni Award”.
Neil is currently the owner, President and General Manager of the Greenville Road Warriors of the ECHL, the premiere professional AA level hockey league. Smith has also been a professional scout for the Anaheim Ducks and former Special Advisor of Hockey Operations for the Dallas Stars, a consultant to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and the Pittsburgh Penguins. He has most recently been a television hockey analyst on Fox Sports Net, Versus and ESPN in the United States, and TSN, NHL Network, and NHL Radio in Canada.