Documentary shines light on NHL enforcers

Chris Nilan

Hockey fans in Montreal can get their first glimpse of The Last Gladiators on Monday evening. The documentary film about hockey enforcers makes its Montreal premiere at the Starcité Cinema at 7 p.m. (4825 ave. Pierre de Coubertin), followed by a question and answer session with retired Canadiens tough guy Chris “Knuckles” Nilan.

The film includes interviews with several retired NHL players including Marty McSorley, Tony Twist and the late Bob Probert. But its main focus is Nilan — his NHL career, his descent into addiction after he retired and his subsequent recovery. It features moving interviews with Nilan, his parents and siblings.

A French-subtitled version of the film will be shown at the Montreal premiere on Monday. The documentary, which opens in theatres across Canada starting on Friday, was directed by Alex Gibney, who won an Academy Award for best documentary feature in 2008 for Taxi to the Dark Side.

Nilan spoke to The Gazette’s Brenda Branswell on Monday about The Last Gladiators. Here’s a short video clip:


The official trailer for The Last Gladiators:

Branswell’s feature on Nilan will be published in Thursday’s Hockey Inside/Out section in The Gazette.

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