Status: Dallas Stars left wing
HT: 6-foot-2 WT: 205 pounds
DOB: Sept. 3, 1987 In: Whitby, Ont.
Hockey Inspiration: "When I was 15 I met Gary Roberts and he took me into his gym - Station 7 in Toronto - and I trained there for three years with him. He helped me out a lot. I'm from Whitby, he grew up in Whitby, too. So it was really nice of him to take me in and help me with little things like that, get me off on the right foot in training. When he got rid of his gym, I started working out with Adam Foote in Whitby. So those are two guys from Whitby, who helped me out a lot throughout my career."
Hobbies/Leisure Activities: "I like to fish, cottage in the summer, ski and wakeboarding, all that kind of stuff. All water sports."
Nicknames: "Just Nealer. (Steve Ott, in the next locker, offers more: "Come on, he's got a lot of nicknames: The Real Deal Neal, Jimmy, King James.")
Favorite Movie: "Dumb & Dumber, Wedding Crashers."
Musical Tastes: "I like country: Dirks Bentley, Toby Keith."
Favorite TV Show: "Nip/Tuck."
First Hockey Memory: "Probably going to a Quebec tournament, I played for the Whitby Wildcats. We got invited to play. That was a big thing, to go to the Quebec Pee-Wee Tournament and to play in Quebec Colisee, where the Quebec Nordiques used to play. And having a packed house, being that young was pretty exciting when you're a kid and there's 15,000 people watching you."
First Job: "Never had one."
First Car: "Grand Prix 1999 (black)."
Current Car: "Escalade EXT (white)."
Pre-Game Feeling: "Pretty easy going. I take it easy and laugh a little bit. I visualize things before the game and prepare before warmups, stuff like that."
Favorite Meal: "Pizza. I like a good steak. Starting to eat steak a lot here. All the guys take you out to dinner, so."
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: "Vanilla."
Greatest Sports Moment: "Playing in the World Junior Championship; winning a gold medal was something really special. And then I scored a hat trick in my hometown in Toronto on December 23rd when we played the Leafs. Just being able to skate out at the ACC was something I'll never forget. Then to be able to score three goals is something. I can't even describe the feeling I felt with all the family and friends there. We got to go home for Christmas that night, so I got to go out with all my friends. It was a good night."
Most Painful Moment: "I got sent down to the American League this year for two weeks. I was in the dumps a little bit. But I’m glad to be back."
Most Memorable Goal: "Scored in Game 6 in overtime when I played in junior for the Plymouth Whalers, to send us to the Memorial Cup. To win the OHL championship."
Closest NHL Friends: "Jared Boll on the Columbus Blue Jackets. He's my best friend. We live together in the summer, played together in junior, became best friends. The last five years we were really close and he was fortunate enough to make Columbus last year and led the league in fights. So he's doing well in Columbus."
Funniest Players Encountered: "Marty Turco is pretty funny. ‘Otters’ – Steve Ott is funny."
Toughest Competitors: "Krys Barch. Playing against him is intimidating. Big guy."
Embarrassing Hockey Memory: "I don't have one. Not yet at least. Hopefully, I never do. Haven't left the skate guards on yet."
Funny Hockey Memory: "In New York I went to put my dress shirt on and all I had left was the top button. So I had just the top button done up and the rest was just shredded."
Last Vacation: "Haven't been on a vacation in a while. I'm going to go somewhere this year. But I did get to go to Montreal for the All-Star Weekend, so that's my all-star vacation."
Favorite Players To Watch: "Mike Modano plays on my line, I love watching him. He's unbelievable, the stuff he does. Tons of guys. Like Turco and guys on your own team you see every day. It's fun watching them."
Strangest Game: "The strangest thing was scoring three goals in Toronto. I don't know how the heck that happened. (Didn't expect it?) Oh no, not at all. It was lucky enough, I came down to the net, the puck popped out real fast and hit me on the right toe of the skate and landed on my stick and I scored. That was crazy."
People Qualities Most Admired: "Just like a good guy that likes to joke around. Just loose and outgoing. We’ve got a lot of that.”
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