Andrew ‘Spider’ MacNeill set to work his 1000th QMJHL game
It’s not too often that a fan favourite for a hockey team is someone other than a player, but that is the case with Andrew ‘Spider’ MacNeill.
MacNeill, the Islanders equipment manager, has been with the team since the PEI Rocket days, and has remained with the team each of the 16 seasons since joining the team in the 2003-04 season.
On Saturday the Charlottetown Islanders will be celebrating MacNeill’s 1000th game for the organization as the Isles square off with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. The game seems to have come full circle for MacNeill, who kicked off his Isles career with a win against the same Cape Breton franchise in the inaugural game for the PEI Rocket.
MacNeill got his start with the team when Kevin Elliot took a young Spider under his wing to show him the ropes of life as an equipment manager. The two were fast friends and 16 years later that friendship is still going strong.
Elliott remembers the first time he met the young man with frosted-tip hair who would go on to become one of his closest friends.
“We had a conversation and I said ‘Yep, I like him. I’ll keep him,’ and we’ve been together ever since.”
Spider’s importance is recognized throughout the organization with President of Hockey Operations, Craig Foster stressing the importance of his team’s long time equipment manager.
“He cares about his job and how good of a job he does with the kids that come through here. He is able to treat them all professionally and he does a really good job making sure that they are treated the way they are supposed to.”
Though many players on the Isles roster have only known MacNeill for just over a year, they can all recount fond memories of their first time meeting the man they know as Spider.
From the entire Charlottetown Islanders Organization, we would like to thank Spider for his many years of work for the team and for his contribution on and off the ice for the franchise. We look forward to having Spider behind the bench for years to come.
Spider’s 1000th game takes place on Saturday Jan. 27 when the Islanders take on the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles at the EastLink Centre at 3PM. You can get your tickets by calling the EastLink Centre Box office at 902-629-6625 or by going online here.