October 31, 1933 |
Flin Flon, Manitoba, Canada
|Height||6 ft 1 in (185 cm)|
|Weight||186 lb (84 kg; 13 st 4 lb)|
Toronto Maple Leafs
Chicago Black Hawks
Eric "Sonja" Paul Nesterenko (born October 31, 1933) is a Canadian former professional National Hockey League (NHL) centre who played for the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1951 until 1956 and for the Chicago Black Hawks from 1956 until 1972. In 1973–74 he played for the Chicago Cougars of the World Hockey Association, after a year of coaching in Switzerland. 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.
In 1986, he played the father of character Dean Youngblood (Rob Lowe) in the movie Youngblood, and was also the film's hockey consultant. He has worked as a disk jockey, a stockbroker, a travel broker, a freelance writer, a university professor and a ski instructor.
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 achievements
- WHL championship (1956)
- Edinburgh Trophy championship (1956)
- Stanley Cup championship (1961)
- Played in NHL All-Star Game (1961 and 1965)
- “Honoured Member” of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame
- Biographical information and career statistics from NHL.com, or Eliteprospects.com, or Legends of Hockey, or The Internet Hockey Database
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