Transcript: Nick Kypreos: A Bruising Life in Hockey | Nov 09, 2020

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a blue suit, white shirt, and lavender tie.

A caption on screen reads "A bruising life in hockey. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says WHEN NICK KYPREOS PLAYED IN
THE NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
HE WAS NEVER AMONG THE BEST
PLAYERS ON THE FOUR DIFFERENT
TEAMS ON WHICH HE PLAYED,
BUT HE DID PLAY 442
GAMES IN THE NHL,
BECOMING ONE OF
THE INFINITESIMAL PERCENTAGE
OF KIDS BORN IN ONTARIO
TO HAVE THAT DREAM COME TRUE.
IT'S ALSO FAIR TO SAY THAT
KYPREOS' CAREER WILL ALWAYS BE
REMEMBERED FOR THE WAY IT ENDED,
WHICH WAS SHOCKING AND BRUTAL.
IT'S ALL IN HIS NEW BOOK
UNDRAFTED. HOCKEY, FAMILY,
AND WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A PRO,
AND WE'RE DELIGHTED TO WELCOME
TO TVO FROM NORTH TORONTO
THE GUY EVERYBODY CALLS KIPPER.

Nick is in his fifties, clean-shaven, with short, gelled brown hair. He's wearing a black suit.
A picture of the book appears briefly on screen. The cover features a picture of Nick in a pensive pose, wearing a blue suit.

Steve says KIPPER, IT'S SO GOOD TO
HAVE YOU ON TVO. HOW ARE YOU?

Nick says I'M WELL, STEVEN.
THANKS FOR HAVING ME,
AND I THINK WE'VE HAD
A COUPLE OPPORTUNITIES TO TALK,
BUT EARLIER IN
THE CAREER REVOLVED AROUND
THE BUSINESS SIDE,
THE CBA, NOT SO MUCH FUN.

Steve says EXACTLY. IT'S GOOD TO HAVE YOU
HERE TALKING ABOUT YOUR CAREER,
AND I WANT TO START WITH...
WITH THE KIND OF PLAYER YOU WERE
IN JUNIOR VERSUS THE KIND OF
PLAYER YOU TURNED OUT TO BE IN
THE NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE,
BECAUSE I WROTE THESE NUMBERS
DOWN 'CAUSE I WAS
FASCINATED BY IT.
YOU'RE PLAYING IN NORTH BAY,
YOU GET 62 GOALS IN 64 GAMES.
ANOTHER YEAR,
49 GOALS IN 46 GAMES.
THESE ARE PHENOMENAL NUMBERS.
YOU ARE A BIG TIME GOAL SCORER,
AND THEN YOU GET TO THE NHL
AND IT'S NOT SO MUCH ABOUT
THE SCORING ANYMORE. YOU'RE ONE
OF THE TOUGH GUYS ON THE TEAM.
HOW AND WHY DID
THAT TRANSITION HAPPEN?

The caption changes to "Nick Kypreos. Author, 'Undrafted.'"
Then, it changes again to "A brutal game."

Nick says YEAH, IT WAS A CONSCIOUS
EFFORT ON MY PART TO KIND OF
READ THE TEA LEAVES.
THE ONE THING THAT I DO KNOW,
STEVEN, THAT THEY'RE NOT
PATIENT PEOPLE IN THE NHL.
THEY'LL GIVE YOU A SMALL WINDOW
TO SCORE GOALS AND IF YOU DON'T,
THEN YOU MOVE ON
UNLESS YOU'RE A FIRST PICK,
AND THAT PUTS A LOT OF PRESSURE
ON THE SCOUTS TO SHOW YOUR
ORGANIZATION THAT YOU
MADE THE RIGHT CHOICE.
SO, YOU GET A LONGER LEASH
TO TRY TO SCORE GOALS,
BUT WASHINGTON WASN'T
VERY PATIENT WITH ME
AND I HAD A SMALL
WINDOW TO SCORE GOALS,
IT DIDN'T HAPPEN, BUT I WANTED
TO STAY IN THE LINE-UP.
SO, I MADE THE CONSCIOUS
EFFORT TO FIND OTHER WAYS
TO CONTRIBUTE.
EVEN ALL THOSE JUNIOR YEARS,
STEVEN, I WAS SCORING GOALS.
I LIKED THE PHYSICAL ASPECT
OF THE GAME. I HIT A LOT,
AND ON OCCASION I WOULD FIGHT.
SO, IT WAS JUST A REAL CONSCIOUS
EFFORT FOR ME TO GO OUT THERE
AND DO THAT AT THE PRO LEVEL.

Steve says WELL, YOUR LEVEL OF COMMITMENT
TO STAY IN THIS GAME IS PERHAPS
BEST EXEMPLIFIED IN THE NEXT
STORY THAT I'M GOING TO ASK YOU
TO TELL. YOU'RE, AT THIS MOMENT,
WITH THE AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE
HERSHEY BEARS, SOMEONE CLIPS YOU
ACROSS THE FACE WITH A STICK,
CUTTING YOUR LIP WIDE OPEN FOR
MORE STITCHES THAN YOUR DOCTOR
CAN EVEN REMEMBER. YOU'VE GOT
FIVE BROKEN TEETH AS WELL,
YOU SPEND ALL NIGHT LONG IN
A DENTIST'S CHAIR GOING THROUGH
A ROOT CANAL AS HE
TRIES TO FIX YOUR MOUTH.
TWO DAYS LATER,
YOU ARE BACK IN THE LINE-UP
WITH A FACE-SHIELD ON,
READY TO PLAY,
AND I WANT TO KNOW WHETHER THERE
WAS A LITTLE VOICE INSIDE YOU,
NICK, THAT AT SOME POINT SAID,
"JEEZ, THIS MAY NOT BE SUCH
A GOOD IDEA FOR MY HEALTH."
WAS THAT VOICE THERE?

Nick says YES, IT WAS THERE.
"WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING HERE?
IS ANYBODY EVEN WATCHING?
DOES ANYBODY EVEN CARE?
HOW CLOSE AM I TO THE NHL?
I'M NOT. I CAN'T EVEN STAY IN
THE LINE-UP REGULARLY,"
AND TO GO BACK IN THAT LINE-UP
SO QUICKLY AFTER MY FIVE ROOT
CANALS A COUPLE NIGHTS BEFORE
JUST SHOWED ME WHAT
THE PRO LEVEL IS ALL ABOUT
IN TERMS OF DO IT NOW OR
DON'T GET THAT SECOND CHANCE.
SO, THEY STILL HAD TO DECIDE
WHETHER I WAS A GOOD ENOUGH
PLAYER IN
THE AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE.
FORGET ABOUT THINKING
ABOUT PLAYING IN THE NHL.
SO, I HAD TO GO IN THERE
AND ULTIMATELY SHOW THEM
THAT I AM WORTHY TO
BE A GOOD PLAYER IN
THE AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE.
UNFORTUNATELY, IT DIDN'T HAPPEN,
AND FROM THAT INJURY
I ENDED UP GETTING SENT BACK
OR AT LEAST MAKING THE DECISION
TO GO BACK TO MY JUNIOR TEAM
AS AN OVER-AGE YEAR TO TRY
TO BUILD MY CONFIDENCE BACK UP.

Steve says WELL, LET ME TAKE YOU
TO A HAPPIER MEMORY.
YOUR FIRST GOAL IN
THE NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE.
WHAT DO YOU STILL
REMEMBER ABOUT IT TODAY?

A picture shows Nick on the ice during a game.

Nick says WELL, ORIGINAL SIX
TEAM AGAINST DETROIT.
I DID IT WITH DOUG WICKENHEISER.
UNFORTUNATELY, WE LOST DOUG
TO CANCER, BUT A TERRIFIC GUY.
ALAN MAY HAS GONE ON TO DO
SOME TREMENDOUS BROADCASTING
WITH THE WASHINGTON CAPITALS,
HE ALSO ASSISTED ON THAT GOAL,
BUT I REMEMBER
IT TOOK ME ALMOST,
I BELIEVE 15 GAMES,
IF I'M NOT MISTAKEN,
TO GET THAT FIRST NHL GOAL
AND I WAITED SO LONG FOR IT.
I ESSENTIALLY WAITED SINCE
I WAS 7 YEARS OLD FOR IT.
15 GAMES SEEMED LIKE
A LOT AT THE TIME BACK THEN,
BUT WELL-WORTH THE WAIT.

Steve says YOUR FIRST FIGHT IN
THE NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
WAS AGAINST ONE OF THE TOUGHEST
GUYS WHO'S EVER PLAYED THE GAME,
A GUY BY THE NAME
OF JOEY KOCUR,
AND AGAIN, I GOT TO KNOW,
WHY WOULD YOU DECIDE TO
HAVE YOUR FIRST FIGHT AGAINST
A GUY WHO WAS THAT LEGENDARY?

As Nick speaks, a short clip shows him fist fighting a player of the opposite team during a game. A caption reads "October 6, 1990."

The caption changes to "Nick Kypreos, @RealKyper."

Nick says WELL, THERE WAS A LOT OF GUYS
THERE OVER THE YEARS, STEVEN,
IN TERMS OF MAYBE PICKING FIGHTS
I MAYBE SHOULDN'T HAVE HAD,
BUT I DO KNOW THAT I PLAYED
FOR A GUY LIKE BRYAN MURRAY,
AND HE LIKED HIS HOCKEY TOUGH,
BUT THE PROBLEM WAS WASHINGTON
ALWAYS HAD A REPUTATION FOR
BEING BULLIED. MOST OFTEN THAN
NOT I TALK ABOUT THIS AGAINST
THE PHILADELPHIA FLYERS,
WE HAD ONE OF THE UGLIEST
BRAWLS IN NHL HISTORY
AGAINST THE FLYERS.
OVER 300 PENALTY MINUTES,
AND IT WAS A REAL, REAL
UGLY INCIDENT ACROSS
THE BOARD FOR THE NHL,
BUT I ALSO KNEW HOW MUCH
BRYAN MURRAY LOVED THAT TYPE
OF HOCKEY, AND I KNOW...
I KNEW IF I WASN'T GOING TO
BE IN AN OPPORTUNITY
TO SCORE GOALS,
PLAY THE POWER PLAY,
I WANTED TO STAY IN THE LINE-UP.
I WANTED TO STAY IN
THE LINE-UP MORE THAN ANYTHING.
I WANTED TO GET A HOCKEY
CARD FOR GOODNESS SAKES,
AND I KNEW IF THAT WAS
NEEDED FROM BRYAN MURRAY
AND MY TEAMMATES,
I HAPPILY WOULD DO IT
REGARDLESS OF MAYBE RISKING,
YOU KNOW, MY HEALTH
SHORT AND LONG-TERM.
THAT'S HOW BADLY I WANTED
TO STAY IN THE LINE-UP.

Steve says YOU PLAYED FOR
THE WASHINGTON CAPITALS,
YOU GOT TRADED TO
THE HARTFORD WHALERS,
ONCE AGAIN YOU GOT TRADED
TO THE NEW YORK RANGERS.
NOW, THAT'S PRETTY COOL.
I WANT TO KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE
FOR A SINGLE MAN TO BE PLAYING
FOR THE RANGERS ON BROADWAY.

The caption changes to "The neon lights are bright on Broadway."
Then, it changes again to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Nick says YOU KNOW,
LIKE THOSE REALITY SHOWS,
IT'S JUST, UH,
IT'S ALMOST SURREAL.
IT WAS SO MUCH FUN,
AND WHAT I REMEMBER
RIGHT FROM THE BEGINNING
WAS MARK MESSIER,
TRUE TO EVERY WORD THEY
TALK ABOUT HIM BEING ONE OF
THE GREATEST LEADER
IN ALL OF SPORT,
WELCOMING ME, MAKING SURE THAT
I WAS LOOKED AFTER IN TERMS OF
"WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO LIVE?
YOU KNOW, WHAT'S YOUR SITUATION?
YOU GOT A WIFE AND KIDS? NO?
OKAY, THEN COME LIVE
IN THE CITY WITH US."
IT WAS MY... IT WAS MARK MESSIER,
BRIAN LEETCH, MIKE RICHTER.
PRETTY GOOD COMPANY
WITHIN SIX OR EIGHT BLOCKS ON
THE UPPER WEST SIDE,
AND IT WAS SO IMPORTANT
FOR MARK, STEVEN,
TO TAKE THE WHOLE CULTURE IN,
OF JUST NOT BEING
A PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE,
BUT BEING ONE IN NEW YORK CITY,
WHICH MEANS TAKING IT ALL IN.
BROADWAY SHOWS, RESTAURANTS,
THE CULTURE, THE MUSEUMS.
EVERYTHING.

The caption changes to "Nick Kypreos. Line Movement."

Nick continues IT WAS
POSSIBLE TO TAKE IT ALL IN
AND STILL DO
A GREAT JOB ON THE ICE,
BECAUSE PRIOR TO MARK MESSIER,
IT WAS ONE OR THE OTHER.
THEY WERE REALLY SCARED ABOUT
ATHLETES, OR HOCKEY PLAYERS,
BEING IN THE CITY
AND THEN OBVIOUSLY HAVING
THE DISTRACTIONS. MARK SAID,
"NO, YOU CAN DO BOTH
EXCEPTIONALLY WELL."

Steve says THERE'S A LOVELY STORY
YOU TELL IN THE BOOK.
YOU KNOW, MESSIER WON
FIVE STANLEY CUPS WITH
THE EDMONTON OILERS,
AND YOU ASK HIM,
"HOW COME YOU DON'T
WEAR ANY OF YOUR RINGS?
YOUR STANLEY CUP RINGS?"
WHAT DID HE SAY?

Nick says "WELL, I'LL WEAR MINE
WHEN YOU CAN WEAR YOURS,"
AND THAT WAS A MESSAGE
TO ME SAYING I DON'T CARE WHAT
I'VE DONE IN THE PRIOR,
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE HERE AND NOW.
SO, HE DIDN'T WANT TO WEAR ANY
RINGS IN FRONT OF PLAYERS THAT
DIDN'T HAVE ONE. HE WANTED
THE NEXT TIME HE WAS GOING TO
WEAR ONE TO BE THE NEW ONE,
THE PRESENT ONE,
THE ONE THAT HE COULD CONTROL,
NOT THE ONES THAT
ARE IN THE PAST,
AND I JUST THOUGHT IT WAS ONE OF
THE GREATEST THINGS HE COULD SAY
TO ME AND TO MANY OF HIS
TEAMMATES THAT HADN'T WON YET,
THAT THIS IS ABOUT THE NEXT ONE.
IT'S NOT ABOUT
THE FIVE PREVIOUS.

Steve says YOUR COACH ON THAT
TEAM WAS MIKE KEENAN, WHO,
COINCIDENTALLY ENOUGH,
GOT HIS START COACHING HOCKEY
AT FOREST HILL COLLEGIATE,
ABOUT FIVE MINUTES
FROM THIS STUDIO,
AND THEN UNIVERSITY
OF TORONTO AFTER THAT.
YOU DON'T HAVE A LOT OF
GOOD STUFF TO SAY ABOUT
MIKE KEENAN IN THIS BOOK.
YOU SEEM TO THINK HE PLAYED
A LOT OF HEAD GAMES
WITH YOU GUYS.

Nick says WELL, NO.
I DON'T THINK THAT'S
ENTIRELY FAIR, STEVEN,
TO BE QUITE HONEST WITH YOU.
I JUST WANT TO CALL IT
THE WAY I SEE IT.
NOW, HE WAS ALWAYS FAIR TO ME.
HE NEVER CHALLENGED ME,
HE NEVER TRIED TO MOTIVATE ME
TO THE POINT WHERE,
YOU KNOW, HE TALKED DOWN TO ME,
BUT HE DID OTHERS,
AND IT'S BEEN NOTED HISTORICALLY
OVER THE YEARS.
WHEN IT'S ALL SAID AND DONE,
STEVEN, WE WON
A CHAMPIONSHIP TOGETHER,
AND NOBODY CAN EVER
TAKE THAT AWAY FROM US,
AND HE WAS A GOOD COACH
IN SO MANY DIFFERENT WAYS,
BUT HE HAD THE TENDENCY
TO STRIP GUYS DOWN.
I DO MENTION THAT IN THE BOOK
WITH SOME OF MY TEAMMATES,
BUT IF THE MEANS WAS ABOUT TO
GET TO GET TO A CHAMPIONSHIP,
THEN MISSION
ACCOMPLISHED FOR HIM.
WOULD I GO BACK
AND CHANGE ANYTHING?
ABSOLUTELY NOT. THAT'S HOW HARD
OF A PRICE YOU HAVE TO PAY TO
WIN A STANLEY CUP,
AND MIKE WAS JUST A PART OF IT,
AND YOU HAD TO PUT UP WITH
THE WAYS THAT MIKE FELT WERE
THE BEST WAYS TO GET THE MOST
OUT OF THE NEW YORK RANGERS.
SOME PLAYERS IT WAS
REALLY HARD ON THEM,
OTHERS, LIKE ME, HE FELT
LIKE HE COULD SQUEEZE ENOUGH
OUT OF ME AND HE DIDN'T HAVE
TO WORRY ABOUT ME ANY LONGER.
OTHERS HE NEEDED
TO LEAN ON HEAVILY,
AND THAT'S WHAT I WANTED
TO BRING ACROSS IN THE BOOK,
UNDRAFTED.

Steve says WELL, IN FAIRNESS, 1994,
THE RANGERS HAVE NOT WON
A STANLEY CUP SINCE 1940.
SO, KEENAN'S JOB WITH MESSIER
AND YOU AND OTHERS IS TO
FINALLY CROSS THAT FINISH LINE,
WHICH HAVE NEVER... WHICH
HADN'T BEEN DONE IN 54 YEARS
YOU HAD ACTUALLY NOT BEEN
PLAYING IN THAT STANLEY CUP
FINAL, NICK, UNTIL GAME SEVEN,
THE LAST GAME...
(LAUGHING)
AND ONE OF THE ASSISTANT
COACHES COMES UP TO YOU
AND SAYS,
"OKAY, NICK, YOU'RE IN,"
AND I JUST CAN'T
IMAGINE WHAT THAT MOMENT
MUST HAVE BEEN LIKE.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE?

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

Nick says WELL, I GOT TO PLAY IN
THE FIRST ROUND AGAINST
THE NEW YORK ISLANDERS
AND WE REMAINED FAIRLY HEALTHY
AND THE TEAM WAS WINNING,
AND LIKE MANY OF THE BLACK ACES,
AND THAT'S A TERM USED FOR
EXTRA PLAYERS THAT DON'T
GET IN ON A REGULAR BASIS,
WE HAD TO BIDE OUR TIME.
WE WERE UP IN THE STANLEY CUP
FINAL THREE GAMES TO ONE
AGAINST VANCOUVER,
AND EVERYTHING SEEMED TO BE
REALLY COMFORTABLE, AND THEN
WE LOST THE LAST TWO GAMES,
AND THERE WAS A...
I WOULDN'T SAY A SENSE OF PANIC,
BUT THERE WAS
A LOT OF UNEASINESS
GOING THROUGH OUR TEAM
AND THE WHOLE ORGANIZATION
THAT WE MIGHT BLOW THIS
AND THERE JUST SEEMED TO BE
A LITTLE BIT OF
A FEELING FROM KEENAN
AND THE ASSOCIATE COACH
DICK TODD AND COLEY CAMPBELL,
MAYBE WE GOTTA JUST
MAKE A SUDDEN CHANGE.
NOW, JOEY KOSHER WAS
ALSO BATTLING A BAD BACK.
SO, IT JUST SEEMED LIKE A GOOD
OPPORTUNITY TO MAYBE CHANGE
THE ENERGY UP A LITTLE BIT,
AND I TALK ABOUT THAT IN
MY BOOK, AND I WAS READY.
I WAS ABSOLUTELY READY.
I WAS PHYSICALLY,
MENTALLY, EMOTIONALLY READY
TO GO BACK IN GAME SEVEN,
AND CREATE A NEW
ENERGY FOR THE GUYS
IN THE ROOM DURING WARM-UP,
AND ANYTHING I COULD
DURING THE HOCKEY GAME.
SO, THANK GOODNESS.
THANK GOODNESS I GOT
A CHANCE TO PLAY IN
WHAT IS STILL CONSIDERED
THE GREATEST MODERN DAY
GAME SEVEN OF HOCKEY.

Steve says YOU GOT TO DO SOMETHING THAT
EVERY LITTLE KID DREAMS OF DOING
AND DOESN'T, BUT YOU DID.
YOU HOISTED THAT STANLEY CUP
OVER YOUR HEAD TO
CELEBRATE WINNING GAME SEVEN
OF THE STANLEY CUP FINALS.
WHAT WAS THAT MOMENT LIKE?

A picture shows Nick holding up the Stanley Cup as an audience cheers and celebrates.

Nick says YEAH, ALMOST LIKE
AN OUT OF BODY EXPERIENCE.
IT'S ALL THESE COLLECTIVE
THOUGHTS IN YOUR HEAD
GOING BACK FROM THE VERY
FIRST TIME YOU PUT ON SKATES
AND, YOU KNOW, HAVING YOUR DAD
WATCH YOU THROUGH THE GLASS AT,
BACK THEN IT WAS
CALLED WOODBINE ARENA
AT THE PINA PLAZA.
IT'S JUST A REVOLVING
DOOR OF HOW MANY PEOPLE
IT TOOK TO GET YOU THERE,
AND I HAD MY DAD,
MY SISTER, AND MY BROTHER-IN-LAW
IN THE STANDS.
THEY MADE THEIR
WAY DOWN TOWARDS ME,
BUT IT WAS VERY DIFFICULT
IN MADISON SQUARE GARDEN.
THE ICE HAD BEEN
CIRCLED WITH POLICE
ARM-IN-ARM WITH
THEIR RIOT GEAR ON.
SO, WE HAD NO IDEA
WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN,
BUT THE GREATEST THING
ABOUT WINNING A STANLEY CUP,
ESPECIALLY IN
A CITY LIKE NEW YORK,
IS SHARING IT
WITH YOUR LOVED ONES
AND THEN ULTIMATELY EVERY
NEW YORK RANGER FAN WHO HAD
WAITED FOR 54 YEARS.

Steve says OKAY, I WANT TO GET INTO...
(STAMMERING)
THE PARADE IN NEW YORK DIDN'T
LAST TOO LONG 'CAUSE YOU ENDED
UP GETTING TRADED AGAIN,
THIS TIME TO YOUR HOMETOWN TEAM,
THE TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS,
WHICH WAS A BEAUTIFUL THING,
AND I WANT TO READ A LITTLE
EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK RIGHT NOW
TO TALK ABOUT ONE OF
THE MORE MEMORABLE NIGHTS
YOU EXPERIENCED AS A MEMBER
OF THE LEAFS. HERE WE GO.

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Fighting, fighting, and more... fighting." The quote reads "Jim Cummins, who was one of the true heavyweights at the time, breaks my nose with a roundhouse elbow. I started bleeding profusely.
There was no question I was concussed, but I got back on the ice. About seven minutes later, I got into a fight with Cam Russell. Ten seconds after we left the box, there was a faceoff. We lined up against each other. I took my stick and rammed it right across his head. We fought, again."
Quoted from Nick Kypreos, "Undrafted." 2020.

Steve says NOW, NICK, MANY PEOPLE
WOULD READ THAT ACCOUNT
AND SAY THAT IS A GREAT
EXAMPLE OF EVERYTHING THAT
IS WRONG WITH HOCKEY.
NOW, THIS IS 25 YEARS AGO,
ADMITTEDLY, BUT TELL ME,
WOULD YOU AGREE THAT WHAT
HAPPENED IN THAT SCENARIO
I JUST DESCRIBED IS PROBLEMATIC?

The caption changes to "Playing for your childhood team."
Then, it changes again to "tvo.org/theagenda; agendaconnect@tvo.org."

A picture shows a young Nick and another player punching each other on the ice.

Nick says WELL, IT IS PROBLEMATIC,
BECAUSE IT'S A DOUBLE-EDGED
SWORD FOR EVERY HOCKEY PLAYER.
IT'S... I KNOW MY
HEALTH IS AT RISK
AND I KNOW THERE'S GOING TO
BE LONG-TERM REPERCUSSIONS,
AND IT DOESN'T MATTER TO ME
BECAUSE I AM IN
THE HERE AND NOW.
NOW, WHAT I DON'T
NECESSARILY SAY IN THAT BOOK
OR WHAT OTHER ATHLETES
SAY IS THAT THAT MOMENT
AND THAT CHARACTER
THAT I SHOWED MANAGEMENT
ALSO EARNED ME ANOTHER CONTRACT.
SO, WHAT DO YOU DO AS A PLAYER?
YOU WANT TO PLAY.
YOU WANT TO STAY IN IT,
YOU WANT TO MAKE AS
MUCH MONEY AS YOU CAN,
AND YOU'RE GOING TO DO
WHATEVER IT TAKES TO SHOW THAT
YOU HAVE THE CHARACTER,
THAT YOU CARE ENOUGH TO
EVEN WANT TO DO THIS,
AND I KNOW IT'S
AN ONGOING THING,
IT'S A TUG-OF-WAR
WITH THE NHL TODAY,
IT'S HOW MUCH DO YOU
WANT THAT WARRIOR MENTALITY
AND HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH.
IT'S AN ONGOING DILEMMA THAT
WE HAVE IN PROFESSIONAL SPORTS,
INCLUDING EVERY
CONTACT SPORT THERE IS.
FOOTBALL GOES
THROUGH THE SAME THING.
HOW HARD DO YOU
WANT THE LINEBACKERS
TO CHARGE THE QUARTERBACK?
YOU STILL WANT THAT ELEMENT.
THAT...
IT SELLS, STEVEN.
THAT IS A PART OF THE SALES JOB
ON WHAT YOU LOVE
ABOUT CONTACT SPORTS.
THE FAN STILL WANTS TO SIT ON
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE PLEXIGLAS
WONDERING, "DO I HAVE
THE GUTS TO DO WHAT HE'S GOING?"
THAT'S PART OF THE SALE.

Steve says NO, I APPRECIATE THAT,
AND DON CHERRY'S GOT A LINE
WHICH SAYS NO ONE EVER GOES TO
THE SNACK BAR IN THE MIDDLE OF
A FIGHT. THERE'S NO
QUESTION ABOUT THAT.
I DID, ACTUALLY,
BEFORE PICKING UP THE BOOK,
BEFORE STARTING TO READ
THE BOOK I WAS ASKING MYSELF,
"I WONDER IF HE'S GOING TO
DISCUSS THE GRANT FUHR INCIDENT."
AND YOU DO. YOU DO GO
INTO IT IN GREAT DETAIL.
SO, I WANT TO DO SOME OF
THAT WITH YOU RIGHT NOW,
BECAUSE ONE OF THE MOST
CONTROVERSIAL MOMENTS OF YOUR
CAREER WAS A TIME WHEN
YOU'RE PLAYING AGAINST
THE ST. LOUIS BLUES,
AND YOU GET CROSS-CHECKED
BY A GUY WHO'S A LOT BIGGER
THAN YOU, ACTUALLY,
INTO GRANT FUHR.

As Steve speaks, a video plays with the caption "April 18, 1996." In the clip, a player from the opposite team slides over to Nick ramming into him and they fight.

Steve says WE'RE LOOKING
AT THE VIDEO OF IT NOW.
THERE'S CHRIS PRONGER
CROSS-CHECKING YOU INTO
GRANT FUHR. YOU LAND ON HIM.
IT WRECKS HIS KNEE
AND HE IS OUT FOR THE YEAR
AND IT WAS A TOUGH YEAR
FOR THE BLUES TO LOSE
THEIR GREAT GOALIE,
BECAUSE THEY WERE REAL
STANLEY CUP
CONTENDERS AT THAT TIME.
YOUR OLD COACH IN
NEW YORK, MIKE KEENAN,
WHO'S NOW THE COACH
OF THE ST. LOUIS BLUES,
ACCUSES YOU AFTER THE GAME
OF DELIBERATELY TRYING TO
INJURE GRANT FUHR.
I GUESS MY QUESTION IS,
DO YOU GET SICK AND TIRED OF
TRYING TO EXPLAIN TO PEOPLE
THAT, "LOOK, THIS WAS
JUST AN ACCIDENT IN HOCKEY,
AND I DIDN'T GO OUT THERE
TRYING TO HURT ANYBODY?"

The caption changes to "'Fuhr got nailed by Nick Kypreos.'"

Nick says YEAH, UH, I'M GOING
TO CARRY THAT, YOU KNOW,
'TIL THE DAY THEY
PUT MY SIX-FEET UNDER,
AND THE BLUES FANS
WILL FOREVER HATE ME.
I THOUGHT MAYBE THEY COULD...
IT WOULD DIE DOWN A LITTLE BIT
WITH THEIR CHAMPIONSHIP, BUT NO,
THEY'RE STILL ON ME 24, 25 YEARS
LATER ON THAT INCIDENT
AND I... I JUST...
IT'S NO DIFFERENT
THAN HOW I EXPLAINED IT.
IT WAS A HOCKEY PLAY.
COULD I HAVE AVOIDED GRANT FUHR?
YES, I COULD HAVE,
BUT WHEN A GUY CROSS-CHECKS YOU
AND YOU'RE ON TOP OF THE GOALIE,
IT'S TO FALL ON HIM.
DID I TRY TO...
DID I TRY TO DISRUPT THEIR TEAM?
DID I TRY TO GET
CHRIS PRONGER TO TAKE A PENALTY?
DID I TRY TO BOTHER GRANT FUHR?
YES, YES, YES, AND YES.
DID I TRY TO INJURE HIM?
WOULD I HAVE LIKED TO HAVE
SEEN HIM LIMP OFF THE ICE
AND BE IN SURGERY, YOU KNOW,
A WEEK OR TWO WEEKS LATER?
NO, ABSOLUTELY NOT.
IT'S A PLAY THAT I'VE DONE
COUNTLESS TIMES DURING MY CAREER
AT ALL LEVELS. NEVER HAVE
I SEEN A SITUATION WHERE A GUY'S
KNEE'S BEEN TAKEN OUT.
THAT WAS THE FIRST ONE.
I FELT HORRIBLE, I STILL DO.
GRANT FUHR'S
A COMPLETE GENTLEMAN.
I TALK ABOUT COMING
TO A MEETING WITH HIM
YEARS AFTER THANKS TO
MARK MESSIER IN THE BOOK,
JUST TO GO SHOW YOU
WHAT A CLASS GUY HE IS,
BUT I STILL FEEL
TERRIBLE TO THIS DAY,
KNOWING THAT HE HURT HIS KNEE
AND NEEDED SURGERY.
I STILL GET KNOTS IN
MY STOMACH THINKING ABOUT IT.

Steve says WELL, IF YOU GET KNOTS IN YOUR
STOMACH THINKING ABOUT THAT,
YOU'RE PROBABLY NOT GOING
TO MUCH LIKE THE NEXT THING
I'M ABOUT TO SHOW YOU,
BECAUSE THIS IS,
AS WE ALLUDED TO
IN THE INTRODUCTION,
THE WAY YOUR CAREER ENDED WAS
ONE OF THE MOST SHOCKING THINGS
I'VE EVER SEEN, AND I'VE SEEN
A FEW GAMES IN MY TIME.
YOU AND RYAN VANDENBUSSCHE.
YOU'RE NOW WITH THE LEAFS,
HE'S WITH THE RANGERS, THE GAME
IS AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN.
THERE IS A MOMENT WHERE
THIS FIGHT COULD HAVE ENDED.
THE LINESMAN COMES UP
TO YOU AND SAYS, ESSENTIALLY,
"KIPPER, YOU'VE HAD ENOUGH,"
AND YOU WANT TO KEEP GOING.
AND AS WE ROLL
THE VIDEO OF THIS FIGHT,
I'M GOING TO READ
AN EXCERPT FROM YOUR BOOK
AND HOW YOU DESCRIBE IT.

A clip plays on screen with the caption "September 16, 1997."
The clip shows the fight as described in the book.

Steve reads
"I HELD OUT FOR ONE MORE CHANCE
TO THROW A KNOCK-OUT PUNCH.
IT WAS
A CAREER-ALTERING MISTAKE.
RYAN CAUGHT ME WITH
TWO SUCCESSIVE PUNCHES.
THE FIRST GRAZED
MY RIGHT SHOULDER,
BUT THE SECOND WAS
SQUARE TO MY CHEEKBONE."
AND HERE IT COMES IF
YOU'RE WATCHING THE VIDEO.
"HOW I ESCAPED WITH HALF
OF MY FACE NOT CAVING IN,
I'LL NEVER KNOW."
AND WE STOPPED THE VIDEO HERE,
NICK, BEFORE THE BLOOD REALLY
GETS BAD, BECAUSE THERE MAY
BE YOUNG PEOPLE WATCHING THIS.
"I HAD PASSED OUT
WHILE I WAS STANDING.
I HAD COLLAPSED FALLING FORWARD.
I WAS UNCONSCIOUS.
WITHOUT THE ABILITY
TO BREAK MY FALL,
MY FOREHEAD HIT
THE ICE FULL FORCE.
I STARTED TO BLEED
ALL OVER THE ICE.
THAT WAS THE LAST NIGHT
I TIED THE SKATES.
NICK, WHEN WAS THE FIRST
TIME YOU GOT TO WATCH
THE VIDEO OF THAT FIGHT?

The caption changes to "A shocking end."

Nick says IT WAS OFF OF A MEDIA
REQUEST OUT OF NEW YORK
AND I'D BEEN
CALLED COUNTLESS TIMES
AND I ALWAYS SAID, "NO, NO, NO,"
BUT I KNEW EVENTUALLY
NONE OF THIS WOULD GO AWAY
UNTIL THEY HAD
SOMETHING IN TERMS OF
MY TAKE ON A LOT
OF WHAT TRANSPIRED
AND OF COURSE IT WAS AN ERA,
STEVEN,
WHEN SO MUCH WAS AROUND.
VIOLENCE AND CONCUSSIONS
ALL OVER AGAIN,
AND WE HAD JUST GONE THROUGH
A SCENARIO WITH LINDROS
AND PAT LAFONTAINE,
AND THOSE GUYS BATTLING HARD.
SO, NOW, IT WAS, UM...
IT WAS IMPORTANT FOR ME NOW
TO KIND OF START THINKING ABOUT,
UM, AN EARLY START OF CLOSURE.
OF COURSE I NEVER REALLY GOT
IT ON A THREE-MINUTE INTERVIEW,
BUT I NEEDED TO GO BACK THERE
AND START DEALING WITH IT AGAIN,
AND, YOU KNOW, IF I LOOK
AT THAT FIRST INTERVIEW
BACK IN '97, '98
THAT I SPEAK OF
MEETING RYAN VANDENBUSSCHE
ON A SPORTSNET SERIES WE DID,
CRISIS ON ICE,
AND THEN ACTUALLY SPEAKING ABOUT
IT IN GREAT DETAIL IN MY BOOK
THAT JUST GOT
RELEASED ON OCTOBER 20TH,
IT PROBABLY TOOK ME
A GOOD 25 YEAR TO PUT FULL,
COMPLETE CLOSURE ON IT,
BECAUSE IT WAS A VERY
TRAUMATIC THING
THAT HAPPENED TO ME,
AND THERE'S ALWAYS
A FORK IN THE ROAD,
AND IT WAS IMPORTANT TO ME THAT
I PICK THE RIGHT
DECISIONS AFTER THAT
SO I COULD LEAD
A PRODUCTIVE LIFE,
AND IT WAS CALCULATED ON MY PART
AND I GOT LUCKY A LOT IN TERMS
OF THE DECISIONS THAT I MADE
AFTER THAT, BUT SO FAR SO GOOD.
I KNOW A LOT OF PLAYERS,
EX-PLAYERS,
THAT EVEN DON'T TAKE ON
A TRAUMATIC INJURY LIKE THAT
THAT JUST HAVE NOT FARED
WELL IN POST-CAREER...

Steve says WELL, HOLD ON...

Nick says AND THEY HAVE TROUBLE.

Steve says NEVER MIND, POST-POLITI...
NEVER MIND POST-PLAYING LIFE.
I WANT TO KEEP YOU ON THAT
FIGHT FOR A SECOND THERE,
'CAUSE WHEN YOU SAW THAT VIDEO,
I WONDER IF THERE WAS A PART OF
YOURSELF THAT ASKED YOURSELF,
"HOLY SMOKES,
I COULD HAVE DIED THERE."

Nick says YEAH, THAT WAS
PROBABLY LATER ON.
I HAD THAT FEELING AGAIN, UM,
WITH RYAN VANDENBUSSCHE
ON THE SET OF SPORTSNET,
BUT TO BE
COMPLETELY HONEST, IT WASN'T...
I ASKED THAT QUESTION NOT ON ME
BUT IF I WOULD HAVE
DIED HOW RYAN WOULD HAVE
DEALT WITH IT, AND, YOU KNOW,
HE SPOKE IN GREAT DETAIL
ABOUT HOW THAT EVENT
AFFECTED HIM MOVING FORWARD.
SO, THERE'S A LOT OF
DOMINOS IN PLAY HERE
WHEN IT COMES TO HOW
THAT TYPE OF INJURY
AFFECTS A LOT OF
PEOPLE MOVING FORWARD,
BUT IT TOOK ME QUITE
A LONG TIME TO REALLY PUT IT IN
ITS PROPER PLACE AND I THINK
I CONCLUDED THAT IN THE BOOK.

Steve says WHEN THE LINESMAN HAD THAT
MOMENT IN THE MIDST OF THE FIGHT
WHERE YOU MIGHT HAVE
BEEN ABLE TO SORT OF STOP IT,
HAVE THEM INTERVENE,
AND THE CRUSHING BLOW
NEVER WOULD HAVE HAPPENED,
WHY DID YOU...
WHY DID YOU SLOUGH HIM OFF
AND PREVENT HIM FROM
BREAKING OFF THE FIGHT?

Nick says CAUSE I WANTED MORE.
I GOT GREEDY.
I WANTED TO BE IN A POSITION
WHERE PEOPLE WOULD SAY,
"OH, YOU KNOW WHAT? HE HELD ON."
I WANTED THE KNOCK-OUT PUNCH.
I WANTED WHAT HE HAD.
A DECISIVE VICTORY WHERE I CAN
GO BACK TO MY BENCH AND SAY,
"HEY, I CAN DO THIS. I CAN
STILL BE A GUY THAT LOOKS AFTER,
YOU KNOW, THE MATS SUNDINS OF
THE WORLD AND THE DAVE ELLETTS,
AND THE KIRK MULLERS.
I CAN DO ALL THAT,"
BUT IT JUST,
IT NEVER CAME TO BE,
AND, YOU KNOW,
THERE ARE CERTAIN TIMES IN
MY LIFE AND CERTAIN
TIMES IN THE BOOK
WHERE YOU JUST
HAVE TO GO FOR IT.
THAT YOU HAVE TO
PUT IT ALL ON THE LINE.
I DID IT THERE.
PAT DAPUZZO, THE LINESMAN,
WAS KIND ENOUGH TO COME IN
AND, UH, I SHOOK HIM OFF,
AND THAT'S...
THAT'S JUST
A PART OF MY HISTORY.
I CAN LIVE WITH IT NOW.

Steve says YOU CAN LIVE WITH IT NOW,
BUT I'M GOING TO ASK YOU TO
SORT OF REANALYZE IT
A LITTLE BIT MORE,
BECAUSE HAD YOU
ACCEPTED THE REFER...
THE LINESMAN'S ADVICE,
AND BROKEN UP THE FIGHT
AT THAT MOMENT,
YOU'D HAVE NO DOUBT PLAYED
SEVERAL MORE YEARS,
YOU'D HAVE MADE SEVERAL
MILLION MORE DOLLARS PLAYING PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY.
DO YOU EVER LOOK
BACK ON IT AND SAY,
"HOLY COW, THAT WAS
THE WORST DECISION I EVER MADE
IN MY LIFE?"

Nick says NO. NO, I LOOK BACK
AND SAY IT'S THE BEST DECISION
OF MY LIFE
BECAUSE LIFE IS ABOUT MAKING
THE MOST OUT OF OPPORTUNITIES.
WITHOUT THAT INCIDENT,
I DON'T GET AN ANALYST JOB
AT
SPORTSNET.
I DON'T GET A CHANCE TO BE
ONE OF THE FIRST PEOPLE
THAT GOES ON A HOCKEY SHOW IN
1998 AND LAST 21 YEARS.
I'M CONVINCED,
WITHOUT THE SEQUENCE OF EVENTS
THAT HAPPENED IN MY LIFE,
THIS DOESN'T HAPPEN,
THIS DOESN'T HAPPEN,
AND THIS DOESN'T HAPPEN,
AND QUITE POSSIBLY
THIS INTERVIEW RIGHT NOW
DOESN'T HAPPEN.
I'M REALLY, REALLY HAPPY
AND CONTENT WITH EVERYTHING
THAT'S HAPPENED MY LAST 21,
22 YEARS SINCE THAT INCIDENT.

Steve says OKAY, FAIR ENOUGH, BUT THEN LET
ME ASK YOU SOMETHING THAT
YOU ACTUALLY, YOU MIGHT BE...
YOU MIGHT HAVE ONE PARAGRAPH IN
THE BOOK ABOUT THIS
AND THAT'S IT.
SO, I DO WANT TO
ASK YOU ABOUT IT HERE.
FIGHTING IN
THE NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE.
NOW, ALL OF WHAT
JUST TRANSPIRED TO YOU
WE'RE TALKING
A QUARTER CENTURY AGO.
LET'S GO TO TODAY. DO YOU THINK,
WITH THE PLAYERS BEING
AS BIG AS THEY ARE NOW
AND WITH THE GAME BEING AS FAST
AS IT IS RIGHT NOW,
IS THERE STILL
A PLACE FOR HOCKEY...
UH, FOR FIGHTING IN
THE NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE?

The caption changes to "tvo.org/theagenda; agendaconnect@tvo.org."

Nick says NOT ANYWHERE NEAR TO
THE EXTENT THAT WE HAD IT,
AND, YOU KNOW, THE ONE THING
THAT I DO LIKE ABOUT IT,
IT SEEMS TO BE
EVOLVING NATURALLY,
AND IT'S NOT FORCED IN ANY WAY.
ULTIMATELY, THE GATEKEEPERS
OF THIS GAME AREN'T THE OWNERS.
YES, FINANCIALLY WE KNOW
WHAT THEY MEAN TO THE GAME,
BUT THE ONES TRULY ARE
THE GATEKEEPERS ARE THE ONES
THAT PLAY IT,
AND THEIR VOICE IN 2020
HAS BEEN HEARD AND THAT'S...
THEY STILL WANT TO KEEP FIGHTING
IN THE GAME, BUT THE NUMBERS
ARE WAY DOWN, STEVEN.
THEY DON'T FIGHT EVEN REMOTELY
CLOSE TO WHAT WE DID. I THINK...
I THINK THERE'S OVER 70 percent
OF THE GAMES NOW IN THE NHL
THAT HAVE NO FIGHTING IN THEM.
THINK ABOUT THAT.
THAT IS A HUGE NUMBER,
BUT FOR THOSE THAT FEEL
LIKE THEY STILL NEED IT,
AT LEAST IT'S
STILL THERE FOR THEM.
IF THEY FEEL LIKE IT WARRANTS,
UM, AN OPPORTUNITY TO DO THAT
AND DIFFUSE EMOTION.
SO, IN FIVE YEARS IT
COULD BE OUT ALTOGETHER,
BUT IF IT IS, IT'S BECAUSE
THE PLAYERS CHOOSE THAT,
AND THAT, I THINK, IS THE BEST
WAY TO PROGRESS FROM HERE ON IN.

Steve says OKAY.
LET'S FINISH UP ON THIS, NICK.
YOU'RE, I THINK, WHAT?
54 YEARS OLD NOW?

Nick says I AM. YES.

The caption changes to "Kyper, 2020."

Steve says 54. OKAY.
STILL AN AWFULLY
PRETTY GUY, I GOTTA SAY.
NO, YOU LOOK DAMN GOOD FOR 54,
AND A GUY WHO'S BEEN THROUGH,
AND I'M GOING TO LIST IT HERE,
FIVE ROOT CANALS,
A THREE-INCH SCREW
IN YOUR SHOULDER,
A RECONSTRUCTED RIGHT KNEE,
A SPINAL FRACTURE IN YOUR
RIGHT LEG...
SPIRAL FRACTURE, EXCUSE ME.
TOO MANY STITCHES TO COUNT,
AND OF COURSE THAT CAREER-ENDING
CONCUSSION THAT
WE JUST TALKED ABOUT.
SO, THE LAST QUESTION IS,
HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY?

Nick says YEAH. SOME DAYS ARE GREAT
AND OTHERS YOU
GOT SOME CHALLENGES,
BUT OVERALL I THINK...
I STILL GOT OUT AT AGE 32,
WHICH IS RELATIVELY YOUNG TODAY,
AND LIKE YOU SAID,
I COULD HAVE GONE ON FOR
TWO OR THREE MORE YEARS,
MAYBE MADE ANOTHER MILLION,
2 MILLION DOLLARS,
BUT ALSO I THINK I BENEFIT
TODAY AT 54 YEARS OF AGE
OF ONLY PLAYING,
YOU KNOW, 450 GAMES,
500 IF YOU INCLUDE
SOME PLAYOFF GAMES,
AND NOT 1000
OR 1100 OR 1200 GAMES.
I THINK, YOU KNOW,
IT'S A REMARKABLE FEAT TO PLAY
OVER 1000 GAMES
AND WE KNOW NOT MANY GUYS DO IT,
BUT WE ALSO KNOW THAT
THERE'S A PRICE TO BE PAID
FOR 1000 GAMES
AND I FEEL LIKE I GOT OUT EARLY
ENOUGH WHERE I COULD HAVE THOSE
CHALLENGES OF SOME DAYS
NOT BEING AS GREAT AS OTHERS,
BUT FOR THE MOST PART STILL
FEELING REALLY, REALLY GOOD.
I RAN THE NEW YORK MARATHON
WHEN I WAS 47 YEARS OLD
AFTER ALL THOSE INJURIES,
AND THAT, TO ME,
IS A BIG OF ACCOMPLIM...
ACCOMPLISHMENT
THAT I HAD AS ANY,
INCLUDING WINNING THE STANLEY
CUP IN A DIFFERENT WAY.
SO, I THINK I GOT
OUT EARLY ENOUGH, STEVEN,
WHERE I COULD STILL
BE A PRODUCTIVE, UH,
ADULT IN MY LATTER PART,
IF I'M TO USE A GOLF PHRASE,
IF I'M ON THE BACK 18
OF MY LIFE, SO FAR SO GOOD.

Steve says THAT'S GREAT. I REALLY
ENJOYED THE BOOK, NICK.
DOUG MACLEAN,
WHO YOU WORK WITH,
HAS THE FOREWORD IN THE BOOK.
IT'S CALLED
UNDRAFTED,
AND WE'RE REALLY GLAD
IT'S BROUGHT YOU TO OUR...
SORT OF TO OUR STUDIOS AT TVO,
VIRTUALLY ANYWAY,
ON THIS EVENING.
TAKE GOOD CARE
AND THANKS SO MUCH.

The caption changes to "Producer: Steve Paikin, @spaikin; Producer: Eric Bombicino, @ebombicino."

Nick says STEVEN, A BIG FAN OF YOU
AND WHAT YOU DO ON YOUR SHOW.
THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

Watch: Nick Kypreos: A Bruising Life in Hockey