Bernard Irvine Nicholls (born June 24, 1961) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey centre. His junior career was spent with the Kingston Canadians, where he established himself as a dynamic scorer and a multi-faceted talent. He was selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the fourth round of the 1980 NHL Entry Draft, 73rd overall. Over his 17-year playing career, Nicholls would play 1127 games for the Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers, New Jersey Devils, Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks, scoring 1209 points. He is one of only 8 players in NHL history to score 70 goals in one season, and one of 5 to score 150 points. Nicholls was born in Haliburton, Ontario, but grew up in West Guilford, Ontario.
Nicholls in an Edmonton Oilers jersey in 2016.
June 24, 1961|
Haliburton, Ontario, Canada
|Height||6 ft 0 in (183 cm)|
|Weight||185 lb (84 kg; 13 st 3 lb)|
Los Angeles Kings|
New York Rangers
New Jersey Devils
San Jose Sharks
73rd overall, 1980|
Los Angeles Kings
After Nicholls was drafted, he played one more year of junior before making his professional debut with the New Haven Nighthawks of the AHL. He scored 41 goals in 55 games as a rookie, and was recalled to the Kings on February 18, 1982 to finish the season, where he had 32 points in 22 games. He was a contributor in the playoffs as the Kings upset the Edmonton Oilers to reach the second round. He also scored hat tricks in three straight home games in that rookie season. Nicholls would never again play in the minor leagues.
For the next six-and-a-half years, Nicholls was a key offensive talent for the Kings, with his best year (a team record 70 goals and 80 assists for 150 points in 79 games played) coming in 1988–89 after the team's acquisition of Wayne Gretzky. During that season, he became one of only 13 players in NHL history to record an eight-point game. However, with Stanley Cup aspirations, the Kings made the decision (during the 1989–90 season) to trade the star centre for a pair of wingers. Nicholls left the Kings as that franchise's fifth all-time leading scorer to join the New York Rangers, helping to propel his new club to the second round of the playoffs.
Although Nicholls performed well for the Rangers, he was dealt after less than two full seasons to the Oilers, as part of a blockbuster deal that saw Mark Messier join the Rangers. After just over a year with the Oilers organization, Nicholls saw himself traded again, this time to the New Jersey Devils, as Edmonton attempted to rebuild their team.
Nicholls adapted his game to become more of a defensive forward in the tight-checking system of then-Devils coach Jacques Lemaire. When his contract expired, Nicholls signed a two-year deal with the Chicago Blackhawks, where he was allowed to take more offensive liberties. He averaged better than a point-per-game in Chicago.
Nicholls finished his NHL career with the San Jose Sharks. At the age of 36, and with a budding young franchise, Nicholls took on more of an elder statesman role. At the end of the 1998–99 NHL season, Nicholls retired.
Nicholls won a silver medal in the 1985 World Ice Hockey Championships while playing for Canada.
Nicholls married Jill in 2014, they live in Las Vegas. Nicholls fathered twins, son Flynn and daughter McKenna. Nicholls also had a son, Jack, born on November 25, 1992 who died six days before his first birthday on Nov. 19, 1993.
Regular season and playoffsEdit
|1978–79||North York Rangers||OPJHL||50||40||62||102||60||—||—||—||—||—|
|1981–82||New Haven Nighthawks||AHL||55||41||30||71||31||—||—||—||—||—|
|1981–82||Los Angeles Kings||NHL||22||14||18||32||27||10||4||0||4||23|
|1982–83||Los Angeles Kings||NHL||71||28||22||50||124||—||—||—||—||—|
|1983–84||Los Angeles Kings||NHL||78||41||54||95||83||—||—||—||—||—|
|1984–85||Los Angeles Kings||NHL||80||46||54||100||76||3||1||1||2||9|
|1985–86||Los Angeles Kings||NHL||80||36||61||97||78||—||—||—||—||—|
|1986–87||Los Angeles Kings||NHL||80||33||48||81||101||5||2||5||7||6|
|1987–88||Los Angeles Kings||NHL||65||32||46||78||114||5||2||6||8||11|
|1988–89||Los Angeles Kings||NHL||79||70||80||150||96||11||7||9||16||12|
|1989–90||Los Angeles Kings||NHL||47||27||48||75||66||—||—||—||—||—|
|1989–90||New York Rangers||NHL||32||12||25||37||20||10||7||5||12||16|
|1990–91||New York Rangers||NHL||71||25||48||73||96||5||4||3||7||8|
|1991–92||New York Rangers||NHL||1||0||0||0||0||—||—||—||—||—|
|1992–93||New Jersey Devils||NHL||23||5||15||20||40||5||0||0||0||6|
|1993–94||New Jersey Devils||NHL||61||19||27||46||86||16||4||9||13||28|
|1996–97||San Jose Sharks||NHL||65||12||33||45||63||—||—||—||—||—|
|1997–98||San Jose Sharks||NHL||60||6||22||28||26||6||0||5||5||8|
|1998–99||San Jose Sharks||NHL||10||0||2||2||4||—||—||—||—||—|
- January 20, 1990- Traded by the Los Angeles Kings to the New York Rangers in exchange for Tomas Sandstrom and Tony Granato.
- October 4, 1991- Traded by the New York Rangers, along with Steven Rice and Louie DeBrusk, to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Mark Messier and future considerations
- January 13, 1993- Traded by the Edmonton Oilers to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for Zdeno Ciger and Kevin Todd.
- July 14, 1994- Signed as a free agent with the Chicago Blackhawks
- August 5, 1996- Signed as a free agent with the San Jose Sharks.
|Men's ice hockey|
Played for Canada in:
- Sarah Sotoodeh (February 28, 2012). "Q And A With Bernie Nicholls". LAKings.com News. Los Angeles Kings.
- Hammond, Rich (June 2, 2008). "Catching up with…Bernie Nicholls". insidesocal.com. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- Murphy, Austin (April 3, 1995). "On Top Again". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- "NHL notes: Kings mine Nicholls to boost offence". London Free Press. QMI Agency. January 6, 2012.
- Crowe, Jerry (April 19, 2010). "Bernie Nicholls turned job as Wayne Gretzky's sidekick into starring role with Kings". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 11 August 2013.