Courtesy of Mark Malinowski, The Hockey News
Current Detroit Red Wings Assistant General Manager Jim Nill is well known to many hockey fans in the Gas City. Nill was a member of the Medicine Hat Tigers from 1975-78, serving as team captain and racking up 47 goals, 93 points and 252 regular season penalty minutes in his final season with the orange and black. They just don’t make ’em like that anymore!
Status: Detroit Red Wings vice president/assistant GM. 1980 Olympian. NHL right winger from 1981-1990 with St. Louis, Vancouver, Boston, Winnipeg and Detroit.
Ht: 6-foot Wt: 186 pounds
DOB: April 11, 1958 In: Hanna, Alta.
Early Hockey Memory: “One that always stuck out: Team Canada in Russia. I remember sitting in an art class back home. That would have been, I think, 12-13 years old. Listening to the game on the radio.”
Hockey Inspirations: “Seeing guys that were injured, playing through those injuries. The things they’ve accomplished by doing that. Steve Yzerman, when he was hurt in the playoffs in 2002, played the Olympics, blew his knee out. Came back, played in the playoffs, he couldn’t practice and every time he’d fall down, he’d have to use his stick to get up.”
Nickname: “‘The Goose.’ I’m from Hanna, home of the Canada Goose. So they call me ‘The Goose.’ Paul MacLean gave me that one.”
Last Book Read: “A couple of weeks ago I read Not Without Hope. About the four guys who went out on a boat for fishing and three guys died. So it was a very sad book.
Jim Nill in his days as Tigers captain
Current Car: “I have a Cadillac Escalade.”
First Job: “Worked at my father’s garage, changing oil and tires.”
Favorite Movies: “Wow. That’s a tough one. The Bridge On The River Kwai. Saving Private Ryan.”
Greatest Sports Moment: “Probably playing in the Olympics for Canada (1980).”
Most Painful Moment: “Broke two ribs in the playoffs and kept playing. And it was a struggle all the time. (Bodycheck?) Yeah. (Remember who?) Eddie Olczyk.”
Favorite Uniforms: “I could say Vancouver, but that wouldn’t be right. That would be the old jerseys back then. But it would be the Detroit Red Wings jersey.”
Most Memorable Goal: “Would have been the playoffs for Vancouver, scored the overtime-winner when we beat Chicago.”
Funniest Players Encountered: “Doug Halward, Harold Snepsts, been a lot of them.”
Closest NHL Friends: “Ken Holland. Yep, been working with him for years, we played together.”
Toughest Competitors Encountered: “Stan Smyl would be one. Al Secord. Tough to play against.”
Embarrassing Hockey Memory: “I probably had some. Probably tried to forget ’em (smiles).”
Nill at the podium of the NHL Entry Draft
Funny Hockey Memory: “Some I can’t tell (laughs). I remember being with the Olympic team. Glenn Anderson would always take the dollar bill out with the fishing line. It was in the airport. Back then, we didn’t charter; always commercial flights. We’d always have time between flights. And he’d have the fishing line and the dollar bill. Hangin’ out, he’d put it on the floor somewhere and people would walk by, go to grab it, he’d pull the dollar bill away. He’d hang it in the air, people would jump at it, he’d pull it away. So that would be some of the funnier moments.”
Strangest Game: “In junior, Zamboni broke down. And John Hilworth played on our team. Big defenseman, big, tough defenseman. He loved cars. And he went back and started repairing the Zamboni. (Fixed it?) Yeah, he got it running. Greasy hands. That was back in Medicine Hat.”
Favorite Arenas To Play: “Chicago Stadium.”
Favorite Players To Watch: “Bobby Orr. Loved Bobby Orr. Thought he was the best. Was a big Boston Bruins fan. Loved Bobby Orr. Lanny McDonald – from my hometown. Got to watch him. He was kind of an inspiration growing up because he was from my hometown.”
Favorite Sport Outside Hockey: “Quite a few. Golf and flying airplanes.”
People/Personality Qualities Most Admired: “People being accountable. Accountable for their actions.”