OverviewChris Nilan, who grew up in the tough and gritty Irish enclave in Boston, was a feared enforcer for the Montreal Canadiens, the Boston Bruins, and the New York Rangers and a Stanley Cup champion never afraid to go into the corners or take off his gloves. He was a valued teammate whose very presence on the ice affected the way the game was played. As an enforcer and as a teammate, Nilan ranks among the greatest of all time; when the cheering stopped, however, Chris Nilan did not do well. The same qualities—his aggressiveness and high-emotion style—that proved so valuable on the ice did not serve him well when his career ended. Nilan turned to drugs and alcohol to dull his pain and nearly died from an overdose. His story is a fascinating and troubling exposé of the booze, bills, and drugs that destroy so many athletes after their careers are over. But it’s also a story of triumph, as Nilan has been the victor in his fight against his demons.
Author BiographyChris Nilan played right wing in 688 NHL regular season games for the Montreal Canadiens, the Boston Bruins, and the New York Rangers. He racked up more than 3,000 penalty minutes during his pro career and was the subject of the documentary The Last Gladiator. He lives in Montreal.