Nicholls Would Like to Play for Ducks to Be Near His Son

Former King center Bernie Nicholls, whose critically ill infant son is hospitalized in Long Beach, has approached the New Jersey Devils about the possibility of being traded to the Mighty Ducks, but the teams say they are not discussing a deal.

Duck General Manager Jack Ferreira said his New Jersey counterpart, Lou Lamoriello, has mentioned the situation but that there have been no trade talks.

“It’s not something either of us have pursued, but we’re aware of the personal situation Bernie and his family are in,” Ferreira said. “Lou and I never talked trade. He just said this is the situation.”

A trade for Nicholls would be unlikely for the Ducks, who as an expansion team have few players other teams want. Ferreira also has adopted a policy of developing young players and wants to avoid trading high draft picks.


Nicholls, 32, who played for the Kings for nine seasons ending in 1990, had a 60-point season last year for Edmonton and New Jersey. His best season with the Kings was 150 points in 1988-89.

His 9-month-old son, Jack, was born with Down’s syndrome, later became critically ill with spinal meningitis and has been hospitalized since.

“This is very tough,” said Nicholls, whose wife, Heather, has stayed at their home in Whittier to be close to their son. “I’m kind of caught in a Catch-22. I can’t be in two places at once. Hockey-wise, I’d much sooner play (with New Jersey). But family-wise, it would be a lot easier if I were there. I’ve got a kid there who’s very sick and my wife wants me to be there.”