Bernie Nicholls

Publish date:
The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Status: NHL center from 1981-1999 for Los Angeles, New York Rangers, Edmonton, New Jersey, Chicago and San Jose.

Ht: 6-foot Wt: 185 pounds

DOB: June 24, 1961 In: Haliburton, Ont.

First Hockey Memory: "Probably playing in our little town of Haliburton, they have the little tournament Glen Dart for tykes. Just going out there with your hockey jersey on was really pretty cool."

Hockey Inspirations:
"Like every kid was to play in the NHL. You get that at a young age. And to finally make it, trust me, what a thrill it was. Obviously to win the Stanley Cup, but that never happened. But just to play. Even still today I love to play, feel like a kid. It's amazing."

Nicknames: “ Well, when I was in L.A. they called me ‘Hollywood.’ In New York they called me ‘Broadway.’"

Hobbies/Leisure Activities: "Avid hunter, fishing with my dad (George), I love golf. I love the outdoors, wild animals, wolves, deer, moose, I love everything about them. I was born and raised in the backwoods. I could live like Grizzly Adams. Would love that."

Favorite Movies: "The Sting - I love that movie. Inspirational movies - Secretariat - I love that. Horse movies. Seabiscuit."

First Car: "1982 baby-blue Pontiac Trans-Am. With the big bird on the front. Best thing I ever saw."

Current Car: "A GM pick-up (black)."

First Job: "Blocklayer (age 16). Mixing cement. That was tough. I (got sick) my first day."

Favorite Meal: "Wild food. My dad can cook up some pretty good wild game - duck, geese, moose, buffalo, muskrat. Muskrat is unbelievable."

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor:

Greatest Sports Moment: "Wow. Scoring 70 goals was kind of it. That had to be the topper. Playing my first game was out of this world, in Calgary for the Kings. When we played Edmonton, we were down three games to one, then came back to beat them in the seventh game, I had two goals and two assists. To play in the seventh game and have the impact I did - that was as good as it gets."

Most Painful Moment:
"Losing to the New York Rangers in '94 (with New Jersey). Seventh game, double-overtime. It was devastating. We felt we could have won that year. We lost Game 6 with a two-goal lead in the third period and Game 7 in double-overtime. It was an awesome series, maybe my favorite all-time series even though we lost. It was a great series."

Favorite Arena: "Wow. I guess Chicago. The stadium before the United Center was the best stadium of all to play in."

Favorite Uniforms: "Oh, Chicago's uniforms. It's out of this world to me. I really liked the black, white and silver of the L.A. Kings in the ‘90s."

Closest Hockey Friends: "Probably Chris Chelios. Gary Suter maybe."

Funny Hockey Memory: "Well, I could tell you a story. If there's ever a Hall of Fame for stories, I could shorten it up. We always trained in Victoria. One night at 12 o'clock in the morning - we had two French kids on our floor staying in the room at the hotel. Me and Phil Sykes were going to go in and scare them. I go over the balcony and sneak in, crawling on the floor. There are two beds and I notice there are two people in one bed. Hmmm. So I jump up and start screaming. And an elderly lady and her mom jump out of the bed. They called the cops. They were so scared. God, I felt so bad. The one lady could have died. I had a beard then and my hair was permed - I looked like a freak. What happened was the two French kids got cut that day and the hotel gave the room to the two ladies. I never got to see or even apologize to the two ladies. After they called the police, they left the hotel. They picked up and left. Pat Quinn was our coach then. When he found out the next day he was pretty pissed. But then when I explained the whole story, he broke down."

Most Memorable Goal: "Wow. I think my first goal. I scored it in Colorado. It was shorthanded. I beat the goalie. I had a guy send me a picture of the open net when I was just about to shoot the puck in the net. A perfect picture, just perfect, showing the back of my jersey with my name, number, just about to shoot. Unbelievable. Awesome. First NHL goal. Glenn 'Chico' Resch, he signed me his goalie stick after the game and gave it to me. My first goal was very memorable."

Strangest Game: "Two. My first year, playing Edmonton in the playoffs in 1982. We beat them 10-8 in Game 1 in Edmonton. Then we came back (after losing Game 2) for the third game and were down 5-0 with 12 minutes to go in the game and came back and won that game. The Miracle on Manchester. We weren't expecting to win that game. We weren't planning on going back to Edmonton (for Game 5 of the best-of-five). They won Game 4. I remember after that game, we chartered the plane and flew back to Edmonton together with them, we were in the front, they were in the back. Then we beat them 7-4 in Edmonton to win the series. They were young then, they were a good team. We were lucky to beat them. They were cocky, young and good."

Funniest Players Encountered: "Marty McSorley - he was out there. Tie Domi was a funny kid when we played in New York. Every team has their own little jokesters. As you could tell, I was one. I used to hide in guys' showers to scare them after pre-game skate meals. I'd go up to their room after lunch when we'd take our afternoon nap. I remember Marcel Dionne nearly fell off the toilet one day he was so shocked. I remember Scott Stevens went running right out of the room. J.P Kelly - he was about 230 pounds - he started screaming and the veins started popping in his head. I thought he was going to kill me. I took a pillow in the shower just in case - you never know the reaction. I scared Rick Vaive one time in Prague at the World Championship. His reaction was funny, too. Whenever I see him he still mentions it."

Toughest Competitors:
"Wow. Mark Messier probably, for me. I was a center. I played against him a lot in Edmonton when I was in L.A. He was so tough, so strong and he was mean, too. When he was young he was mean."

Favorite Sport Outside Hockey To Watch:
"Other than hunting - if hunting is a sport - golf. I could hunt 12 months a year. I love watching NFL football. Football is awesome."

Early Hockey Memory: "The first time I went to Maple Leaf Gardens. A friend took me to see Toronto play the Chicago Blackhawks. I was about 12. It was unbelievable."

Tiger Woods Story: "I may be the only player in golf who Tiger hasn't beaten. At Big Canyon in Newport Beach, (a few friends and I) were just getting ready to tee off. John Hamilton said, ‘Do you see who is on the driving range?’ It was Tiger Woods. He was only 18. We asked him to play. And he jumped in my cart. And played with me, Mark Hardy and Jimmy Fox. That day he shot 73. I shot 71. When I see him now, we talk, he still remembers playing. I got the scorecard and want him to sign it.”

People Qualities Most Admired:
"I love to see just friendly people. Character people. Hard-working people. Nowadays, I think you see too many - you can't trust anybody. Just like to see people with character and have the utmost respect for people. That's the kind of people I like."

Mark 'Scoop' Malinowski is the author of "Heavyweight Armageddon: The Tyson-Lewis Championship Battle" and creator of two websites: and


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