Former and beloved Montreal Canadiens enforcer Chris Nilan has been fired from his job as host of ‘Off The Cuff’ on TSN 690 for refusing company policy to get the COVID vaccine.
In Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram posts on Thursday night, the Montreal Canadiens great revealed the reason for his sudden and mysterious absence on the air from the popular early afternoon (1-3 PM ET) show he had hosted since 2011.
“Late last year, Bell Media ordered me to take the COVID 19 vaccine,” Nilan said in the social media post. “After consultation with my doctor and based upon my medical conditions, I have decided not to take the shot,” Nilan wrote. “I sought a medical exemption and was denied.”
Nilan, 63, battled addiction throughout his career with the Montreal Canadiens but even more so after, before moving back to Montreal with his girlfriend and now wife, Jaime, after getting clean at a rehab facility in Oregon. In his statement Thursday, Nilan never mentioned what his exact medical condition is that prevents him from getting the vaccine. Instead, he went on to thank his listeners and fans, as well as those like longtime TSN 690 drive-home host Mitch Melnick, former station director Wayne Bews and cohost Sean Campbell.
“I want to thank all of my loyal listeners and the greatest fans in hockey for all of your support and friendship over these many years,” Nilan wrote on Twitter. “I would especially like to acknowledge publicly the support and friendship of Mitch Melnick and Wayne Bews, two gentlemen who have always been in my corner, as well as my co-host of nearly 10 years, Sean Campbell.”
For those of you who have been wondering where I’ve been pic.twitter.com/9G7DQsVMe0
— Chris Nilan (@KnucklesNilan30) February 3, 2022
Nilan played 688 games in the NHL. He finished his career as a Stanley Cup winner (1986), an NHL All-Star (1991), and a reputation as one of the most feared players to ever lace them up. He had 110-115-225 totals, along with 3,043 penalty minutes. He became known as ‘Knuckles Nilan’ and lived up to that nickname in almost every game he played. Nilan retired from the NHL after finishing the 1991-92 season with the Canadiens after being traded back to Montreal by the Bruins.