Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

The Hockey Legend Thinks Your Epiphany Is Stupid

The Stacks' Alex Belth has a fun interview with Rich Cohen, author Monsters, the book about the '85 Bears that we excerpted yesterday. There's a lot of good stuff in there, but I'm particularly taken with the anecdote below, which isn't about the Bears at all.

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This is Cohen talking:

There was a great hockey player even before my time, but legendary guy, Eric Nesterenko.

He was in the movie Young Blood, he actually teaches Rob Lowe how to fight in that movie and when I was at The New Yorker, somebody there, Adam Gopnik, he's from Canada, he gave me this story which I've never heard of, called "The Drubbing of Nesterenko" and it was about how at the end of his career, Nesterenko got in a fight with, now I'm spacing out on his name, but sort of the enforcer of the Canadiens. Nesterenko got the shit beat out of him and it was on national hockey net in Canada and Nesterenko was like 42. The guy he was fighting was like 24. The story is all about—the writer's a big Blackhawks fan and the guy who beats Nesterenko up is on the Canadiens and it's like he feels as if his own father is beating him up and he has this realization about his dad and his feelings about his dad and his life gets better at this point because he realizes and all this stuff.

A friend and I went skiing in Vail in 1993 and we'd heard that Eric Nesterenko was a ski instructor in Vail and we hired him for a lesson and we spent the whole day skiing with him, talking to him about the NHL. We invited him out to dinner and we went out to dinner with him and at the end of dinner, we'd all been drinking a little bit, I asked him if he'd ever heard of the story called "The Drubbing of Nesterenko" and he went fucking berserk. He's like, "I fucking heard of it, some fucking candy-ass writer, some fucking asshole, I get my ass beat up, I get humiliated on TV, my kids watch that, my family watches that, and this guy has an epiphany about how he doesn't like his dad? Fuck him."

You can watch the video above. John Ferguson is the other fighter.