skip navigation

Player Profile: Patrick Neary

By Ross Forman, 03/18/22, 12:30PM CDT


Patrick Neary scored the biggest goal of his career on Wednesday, March 9: the game-winner, in overtime, as fifth-seeded Saint Viator shocked No. 1-ranked New Trier Green, 4-3.

It was, without question, one of the biggest goals in school history, as the win pushed the Lions into the Illinois High School Hockey State Championship Game (Red Division) against No. 3 Stevenson after the Patriots stopped No. 2 Loyola Gold, 7-5, in the other semifinal.

The Lions ultimately lost the state championship game, falling 5-0 to Stevenson on March 13th in Bensenville.

“Tommy O’Neill picked up (the puck) in the corner, went around the net, looked in front and I was wide-open. I was just waiting for the puck,” Neary said, remembering his overtime magic against the Trevians. “Tommy threw a perfect pass, right on my tape and I buried it far side,” about three minutes into overtime.

“We went wild. I’m still shocked, out of my mind. It was right place, right time.”

Neary, a left-handed shooting left wing, lives in Chicago’s Edison Park neighborhood. He has been playing since he was 4, primarily for the Northern Express before donning the Lions’ uniform as a freshman at the Arlington Heights-based school. He skates with center Gavin Wright and right wing Reiden Mueller.

Mueller is the team captain; Neary and Wright are assistant captains.

“I bring a positive attitude to this team, helping the boys on and off the ice,” Neary said. “I feel like (being the assistant captain) is a perfect role for me since I’m always trying to bring the guys up during down moments and more.”

Neary was a key for Viator all season, particularly the past few weeks. Consider:

  • In game one of Viator’s Scholastic Hockey League (SHL) playoff series against Loyola Gold, with the Lions trailing by one, Neary and Mueller were on a 2-on-1 break. Mueller slid the puck to Neary, who buried it to tie the game, 3-3.
  • In game two of the SHL playoff series against Gold, Neary scored twice in the overtime battle.
  • In Viator’s state playoff game against OPRF, in the second overtime session, Mueller rifled a shot on goal that tipped off Neary’s stick into the goal. “I saw the puck in the back of the net and, yeah, I was surprised,” Neary said.

“Patrick embodies our entire team. He is tough, fearless, gritty, and just gets the job done,” said Saint Viator head coach Tim Benz. “He’s just a tough kid, one of the key pieces on the chess board that is the Saint Viator hockey team. His style of play and energy are keys. Patrick Neary certainly plays our style, the Saint Viator style of hockey.”

Neary’s collection of Saint Viator memories include the puck from the OPRF win. Coach Benz has the game puck from the win over New Trier Green.

Neary also has a state championship memory from his freshman season, when the Lions’ JV defeated Loyola for the title.

“That (freshman year) state championship felt amazing. That win gave us a taste of what it was like, made us want more,” championships, said Neary, who scored in the freshman title game. “Loyola that season beat us every single time until the championship game.

“Making it to the state championship game this season means a lot to the boys, especially the seniors.”

Neary is still undecided on his college plans for the fall, though he is looking at several Midwest schools, including Iowa, Dayton and Michigan State. He wants to major in sports management, with a minor in finance.