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The Boston Globe

Sports

Chris Nilan now an antibullying advocate

The former enforcer’s toughest fight was after hockey — with drug and alcohol addiction — but he has gotten the upper hand in that battle and is now an antibullying advocate

NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario — The resurrection of Chris “Knuckles” Nilan began several years ago on the fringe of Boston. After 30 surgeries from his 13-year career as an NHL enforcer, he was gobbling pain-killers as if they were M&M’s. When his supply ran out, he scored some heroin.

“I was in a hotel room by myself,” said Nilan. “I was sick, sick as a dog. I was shooting up and sitting on the toilet. I shot it and passed out on the toilet. I woke up and I saw the needle still in my arm and the blood. I’m like, ‘What the [expletive]?’ and I stood up right away.”

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