Roger Neilson

Died June 21st, 2003

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Roger Neilson, a Hall of Famer who coached more than a quarter century in the NHL, died Saturday. He was 69.

He had been battling skin and bone cancer, and his death was announced by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman 90 minutes into the NHL draft.

"We'll miss you, Roger," Bettman told the crowd, which stood for a moment of silence.

Neilson was an assistant coach with the Ottawa Senators, and his resume was surely one of the longest ever in the NHL. He was the head coach of eight teams, although he never won a Stanley Cup.

Ottawa was his 10th NHL team, and the Senators' inability to win the Cup this season was a source of considerable dismay for the players. Ottawa lost in the Eastern Conference finals to New Jersey in seven games. His illness forced him to miss some games during the deepest playoff run in Senators' history.

Neilson was elected last year to the Hockey Hall of Fame in the builder's category. "It was so unexpected," he said. "You just wonder why you were picked when there are so many others that may seem to have done more."

Picked by E-Brake.