Eric "Sonja" Paul Nesterenko (born October 31, 1933) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey centre who played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1951 until 1956 and for the Chicago Black Hawks from 1956 until 1972.

Eric Nesterenko
Eric Nesterenko.jpg
Born (1933-10-31) October 31, 1933 (age 86)
Flin Flon, Manitoba, Canada
Height 6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Weight 186 lb (84 kg; 13 st 4 lb)
Position Centre
Shot Right
Played for Toronto Maple Leafs
Chicago Black Hawks
Chicago Cougars
Playing career 1951–1974

Early lifeEdit

Nesterenko was born in Flin Flon, Manitoba to immigrants from Ukraine. He attended high school at North Toronto Collegiate Institute.[1]

Playing careerEdit

Following his long NHL career - in 1973–74 he played for the Chicago Cougars of the World Hockey Association, after a year of coaching in Switzerland.[2] He had 250 goals and 324 assists during his NHL career, and won a Stanley Cup championship with Chicago in 1961. The rangy right winger was a superb penalty killer, who also was known for using his elbows in the corners.

Nesterenko infamously required 15 stitches in his head after Willie O'Ree, the first black player in the NHL, retaliated with his stick after Nesterenko had knocked out his two front teeth and taunted him with racial slurs.[3]

Personal lifeEdit

In 1986, he played the father of character Dean Youngblood (Rob Lowe) in the movie Youngblood, and was also the film's hockey consultant.[4] He has worked as a disk jockey, a stockbroker, a travel broker, a freelance writer, a university professor and a ski instructor.[5][4]

Near the end of his NHL career, he was interviewed for Studs Terkel's bestselling book, Working: What People do all Day and How They Feel About What They Do.

Awards and achievementsEdit

Career statisticsEdit

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1949–50 Toronto Marlboros OHA-Jr. 1 0 0 0 0
1950–51 Toronto Marlboros OHA-Jr. 46 28 22 50 90 13 7 9 16 27
1951–52 Toronto Marlboros OHA-Jr. 52 53 42 95 133 6 2 6 8 12
1951–52 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 1 0 0 0 0
1952–53 Toronto Marlboros OHA-Jr. 34 27 21 48 46
1952–53 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 35 10 6 16 27
1953–54 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 68 14 9 23 70 5 0 1 1 9
1954–55 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 62 15 15 30 99 4 0 1 1 6
1955–56 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 40 4 6 10 65
1955–56 Winnipeg Warriors WHL 20 8 6 14 27 14 3 7 10 22
1956–57 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 24 8 15 23 32
1957–58 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 70 20 18 38 104
1958–59 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 70 16 18 34 81 6 2 2 4 8
1959–60 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 61 13 23 36 71 4 0 0 0 2
1960–61 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 68 19 19 38 125 11 2 3 5 6
1961–62 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 68 15 14 29 97 12 0 5 5 22
1962–63 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 67 12 15 27 103 6 2 3 5 8
1963–64 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 70 7 19 26 93 7 2 1 3 8
1964–65 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 56 14 16 30 63 14 2 2 4 16
1965–66 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 67 15 25 40 58 6 1 0 1 4
1966–67 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 68 14 23 37 38 6 1 2 3 2
1967–68 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 71 11 25 36 37 10 0 1 1 2
1968–69 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 72 15 17 32 29
1969–70 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 67 16 18 34 26 7 1 2 3 4
1970–71 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 76 8 15 23 28 18 0 1 1 19
1971–72 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 38 4 8 12 27 8 0 0 0 11
1973–74 Chicago Cougars WHA 29 2 5 7 8
1975–76 Trail Smoke Eaters WIHL 40 10 25 35 38
NHL totals 1219 250 324 574 1273 124 13 24 37 127

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ http://www.ntci.on.ca/alumni/FN-sp2002.pdf
  2. ^ Frayne, Trent (10 March 1980). "Out of hockey and listening still for that distant drum". Maclean's - The Complete Archive. Maclean's. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
  3. ^ "Willie O'Ree's little-known journey to break the NHL's color barrier". theconversation.com. January 17, 2018. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Barry, Sal (August 7, 2016). "The Making of 'Youngblood: An Oral History". The Hockey News. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  5. ^ Chicago Blackhawks Legends: Eric Nesterenko

External linksEdit