Bernie will be forever remembered as the Pumpernicholl #9. Nicholls was born in Haliburton, Ontario, but grew up in West Guilford, Ontario. He had a successful 17 year career in the NHL. He was a silver medalist in 1985 at the World Ice Hockey Championship playing for Canada. In 2012 he became a coaching consultant for The Los Angeles Kings and helped lead them to a Stanley Cup win.
Bernie played in over 1000 games in the National Hockey League (NHL). He was selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the fourth round of the 1980 NHL Entry Draft, 73rd overall.
Over his 17-year playing career, Nicholls played 1127 games for the Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers, New Jersey Devils, Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks, scoring 1209 points. He is one of only eight players in NHL history to score 70 goals in one season, and one of five to score 150 points.
During his first full season in the NHL, Nicholls played behind Hall of Fame centre Marcel Dionne and posted 28 goals and 50 points in 71 games. The following year Nicholls led the team in scoring with 90 points and then hit 100 points in 1984-85. He continued to be a valuable offensive contributor over the two seasons and took over first-line centre duties when Dionne was traded in March 1987.
The following season, Nicholls continued producing points at an impressive pace for Los Angeles, highlighted by an eight-point effort on December 1st, 1988 against the Toronto Maple Leafs, which put Nicholls into another small group, becoming one of only 13 players in NHL history to record an eight-point game. By the All-Star break, Nicholls had 75 points in 47 games and was selected, along with teammates Gretzky, Luc Robitaille and Steve Duchesne to play in the All-Star Game.
Nicholls joined the New York Rangers following the All-Star Game. The Rangers were
eliminated in the first round of the Playoffs. Just one game into the 1991-92 season Nicholls was again involved in a blockbuster transaction when Rangers general manager Neil Smith packaged him up with prospects Steven Rice and Louie DeBrusk and shipped him to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Mark Messier. Nicholls, however, did not report to the Oilers for two full months because his wife was pregnant with twins and on bed rest. A week after the babies were born he
finally left New York to join the Oilers after surrendering over a quarter his salary for not reporting so that he could be with his wife.
When Nicholls did finally join the Oilers, he managed to produce despite the distractions of having his wife back in New York with his newborn children, and trade rumours suggesting he might not stay in Edmonton long. He posted 49 points in 49 games with the Oilers and rediscovered his scoring touch posting 20 goals in those 49 games. He saved his best production for the post season where he helped lead the Oilers to the Conference Final. In the first round where he posted five goals and 13 points in a six-game defeat of his former team, the Los Angeles Kings. However, the following year, his production slowed down and he moved back East when he went to the New Jersey Devils.
When his contract expired, Nicholls signed a two-year deal with the Chicago Blackhawks, where he took more offensive leadership. He averaged better than a point-per-game in Chicago. Nicholls finished his NHL career with the San Jose Sharks. At the age of 36, Nicholls took on more of an elder statesman role. At the end of the 1998–99 NHL
season, Nicholls retired