Tyson Nash responds to story about on-ice apology

Jun 7, 2016, 8:16 PM
Phoenix Coyotes' Tyson Nash, left, shoots for the goal while San Jose Sharks Kyle McLaren covers Th...
Phoenix Coyotes' Tyson Nash, left, shoots for the goal while San Jose Sharks Kyle McLaren covers Thursday, Feb. 5, 2004, at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/George Nikitin)
(AP Photo/George Nikitin)

Former NHL bruiser Tyson Nash was known for being a tough guy. On Tuesday, a touching story from Nash’s career was revealed.

Nash is the color commentator for Arizona Coyotes TV broadcasts, and played seven NHL seasons with the St Louis Blues and Phoenix Coyotes. In an article on The Players’ Tribune, former NHL referee Kerry Fraser tells of when he made Nash deliver a heartfelt apology, changing his life.

I was reffing a game in New York when Theo (Fleury) came up to me with tears in his eyes.

“Kerry, you gotta do something,” he said.

Theo had just gotten back to the ice after some time in a rehab program. At the time, I didn’t know the extent of his past trauma with sexual abuse — nobody did. But everybody in the league knew that Theo had spent a few rough years struggling with drugs and alcohol.

At the very end of the first period, Theo had gotten into a scrum with Blues tough guy Tyson Nash, and words were exchanged. Theo skated up to me after everything got broken up, and he was very emotional. You almost never see guys get emotional on the ice, but this was different.

“Kerry, he was talking about my drug problems,” Theo said. “He can’t talk to me like that. I’m really trying to clean up my life, Kerry. Honestly.”

Fraser writes that he couldn’t eject Nash for something he didn’t hear. During intermission, Fraser told Nash’s head coach, Joel Quenneville, that he wanted Nash to apologize to Fleury when they returned to the ice.

When Tyson got to us, his lip was actually quivering. You could tell he was deeply affected, perhaps even ashamed. He tapped Theo on the shin pad and gave a terrific apology.

“I want to wish you all the best in everything you have ahead of you,” he said.

Theo and Tyson shook hands.

Later in Fraser’s story, Nash explained the impact the incident had on him.

“That night changed my life. It really made me think about what kind of person I wanted to be.”

After the story was published, Nash took to Twitter to follow up on the retired hockey official’s mini memoir.

As an enforcer, Nash scored 24 goals but had 479 penalty minutes in just 255 career games. He defended the job that sometimes seems cruel, even as he regrets what he said to Fleury.

Penguin Air

Arizona Coyotes

(Screenshot/Arizona Coyotes)...
Arizona Sports

Coyotes sign D Maveric Lamoureux to 3-year, entry-level contract

The Coyotes announced the signing of first-round draft pick Maveric Lamoureux to a three-year entry-level contract, according to the team.
14 hours ago
(Screenshot/Bally Sports)...
Arizona Sports

Bally Sports+ streaming service announces launch date in September

Bally Sports announced the launch of a new streaming service for the Suns, Coyotes and regional college sports coming Sept. 26.
14 hours ago
FILE - United States' Logan Cooley (18) checks Finland's Eemil Viro (6) during the second period of...
Sam Graveline

Coyotes prospect Logan Cooley impresses for Team USA at World Juniors

Arizona Coyotes prospect Logan Cooley flashed some skill for Team USA against Austria in the World Juniors Saturday.
5 days ago
Lawson Crouse #67 of the Arizona Coyotes skates against the New York Islanders  at the UBS Arena on...
Kellan Olson

Lawson Crouse believes in Arizona Coyotes’ long-term vision, core

Arizona Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse spoke on his long-term commitment to the organization and what he sees for it in the future.
10 days ago
Lawson Crouse #67 of the Arizona Coyotes skates with the puck during the NHL game at Gila River Are...
Arizona Sports

Lawson Crouse, Arizona Coyotes agree to 5-year extension

Agreeing to an extension before an arbitration on Monday, Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse will make $4.3 million on average each year.
10 days ago
Logan Cooley, #3 pick by the Arizona Coyotes, poses for a portrait during the 2022 Upper Deck NHL D...
Arizona Sports

Coyotes’ Logan Cooley to play for U.S. at World Junior Championship

Coyotes prospect Logan Cooley -- the 2022 No. 3 pick -- will represent the United States at the upcoming IIHF World Junior Championship.
11 days ago
Tyson Nash responds to story about on-ice apology