CHICAGO – One of the few members of the Blackhawks’ 1,000 games club has passed away.
The team announced that Eric Nesterenko has died at the age of 88 on Monday as they saluted the player who was with the franchise for a decade and a half and played a big role in a run to a championship.
A native of Flin Flon, Manitoba, Canada, the forward played 16 of 20 NHL seasons with the Blackhawks, taking the ice for 1,013 games from 1956-1972. That total of contests for the franchise ranks seventh in team history, with current captain Jonathan Toews passing him just this past season.
After spending his first five seasons with the Maple Leafs, Nesterenko scored 207 goals and dished out 288 assists with the Chicago franchise but was also known for his play off the puck as well.
Nicknamed “elbows,” he was a valued member of the Blackhawks’ penalty kill during a successful run for the team. Nesterenko helped the team to the 1961 Stanley Cup championship along with 12 other playoff appearances in his tenure. The forward finished with 13 goals and 22 assists in 113 postseason games for the Blackhawks.
Nesterenko was named an NHL All-Star in 1961 and 1965.
The forward would play one season for the World Hockey Association’s Chicago Cougars during the 1973-1974 campaign, playing in 29 games.
Over a decade later, Nesterenko added an acting credit to his professional career when he took on the role of Blane Youngblood in the 1986 film “Youngblood.” He was the father of the main character of the picture, hockey player Dean Youngblood, who was portrayed by veteran actor Rob Lowe.
Nesterenko would return to Chicago a few times to take part in Blackhawks alumni events, including a 50th-anniversary reunion at the United Center in 2011 & the team’s convention in the summer of 2017.