Born: February 16, 1929 (Reserve Mines, Nova Scotia)
Died: May 2, 2013
Member: Acadia Athletics Sports Hall of Fame (2011)
Connie MacNeil once scored three goals in six seconds, a feat as incredible as it sounds.
MacNeil’s spectacular scoring took place on Feb. 27, 1950, as his Acadia Axemen faced the Kentville (N.S.) Wildcats in a playoff game in the Annapolis Valley Hockey League, a senior-B circuit.
Despite MacNeil’s scoring prowess, the Axemen lost the seventh and deciding game of the series.
The 5-foot-9, 165-pound forward was named league MVP that season.
MacNeil graduated in 1953, becoming a high school teacher, including many years at Horton District High School at Wolfville, N.S.
The Axemen posthumously retired his No. 6 sweater in a pregame ceremony in October, 2013.
In the passing years, MacNeil’s historic hat-trick seemed to be more legend than fact. Some discounted the accomplishment as an impossibility. It got limited notice at the time, reflecting both the low-level of competition and the lack of media interest in Maritimes hockey. In comparison, the NHL’s fastest hat-trick by an individual is Bill Mosienko’s famous three goals in 21 seconds in 1952.
On the 60th anniversary of MacNeil’s historic hat-trick, the Chronicle Herald decided to re-enact the feat with two current Axemen skaters serving as stand-ins for MacNeil and MacKenzie. With the clock stopped after the first goal, could two more be scored from a centre-ice faceoff in less than six seconds? A clean face-off win was followed by a wrist shot from the blue-line into the net. The act was repeated several times, and the players managed to repeat, proving MacNeil’s feat was possible.
The newspaper described MacNeil monitoring the proceedings like an expectant father.