John Kordic Fought To Play


John Kordic, as you know, was a rough and tough enforcer for the Habs in the latter part of the 1980s, and would eventually die at just 27 years old from a drug overdose and a scuffle with nine police at a motel in the Quebec City suburb of L’Ancienne-Lorette.

A violent ending to a man who earned his living by being violent.

We’ve seen issues before with guys whose roles it was to mainly fight, such as Derek Boogaard, and Kordic, like Boogaard, had issues.

My banker was a friend of Kordic’s in Edmonton, from childhood through to adulthood, and he said that although Kordic had a dad who pushed him hard and always expected more, the real problems didn’t begin until Kordic made the NHL. Kordic admitted that it started when the Habs would go on road trips to Los Angeles, where parties and drugs can crop up at the snap of a finger, especially for young, rich, and famous athletes.

So unfortunately, it began with the Habs. My question is, how do Kings players avoid this type of thing?

Ultimately, Kordic became addicted to cocaine, and in the link I provide at the bottom of this page, Kordic revealed that cocaine was in use with some of the Habs back then, and if it’s true, it’s tremendously disturbing.

Kordic wasn’t blessed with an abundance of hockey talent, although he enjoyed a decent junior career, beginning as a defenceman in junior in Portland before switching to forward as the years went by, but the need for fighters, or goons, in the NHL, became his ticket to fame and fortune.

It also became crystal clear that if he wanted to stay gainfully employed in the bigs, he needed to be as strong and as fast as he possibly could, and so the pressure was on. Which meant drugs like cocaine to ease the mind, and steroids to thicken the muscles.

Kordic would come home to Edmonton in the off-season with stretch marks on his neck from steroid-induced rapid muscle growth.

I was told that Kordic drove a Corvette when he came back home to Edmonton, and when he would leave, he simply gave the keys to his buddies and they bombed around the city in the flashy car. Kordic also had no sense of money responsibilities, and would ask to borrow cash from his friends even though he earned so much more than them. “Really John?” they would ask, but that was the way it was.

Kordic won a Stanley Cup with the Habs in 1986, and also toiled for the Leafs, Capitals, and Nordiques during his rocky and violent career. He once told my banker that it was great when he was with Toronto because it meant he, “didn’t have to backcheck, or forecheck, he just had to cash cheques.

In the end, it all got away from him, and a man described as just a truly nice guy and a great friend to many, let it get the best of him.

An excellent and somewhat disturbing 1992 Sports Illustrated story about John Kordic and be seen here Death of a Goon.

Below, Kordic and Torrie Robertson go at it.



5 thoughts on “John Kordic Fought To Play”

  1. John Kordic started out as a defenceman & got changed to forward as a pro. But he did have some on ice success that came early in career -W inning a Memorial Cup with Portland WinterHawks who are in this years final game on sunday as well as being a member of The Habs Calder Cup winning team in The AHL with a bunch of those members being part of Montreal’s 1986 Stanley Cup Team.

    But most admit I loved those fighting bouts in the 80s he had with Montreal & against Adams ? Division Rivals. One night Quebec & coach Michel Bergeon brought up a fighter from the minors (strickly for The Habs) who Kordic handled easily & he skated by The Nords bench (And according to some or legend) yelled at the coach/bench “Who’s Next or got someone better” words to that effect.

    Like most folks was sad to see Mr Kordic lose his life so early to drugs & steroid abuse. I also read/bought the book on Kordic’s life & times – a sad but interesting read…..

  2. There was a book written about Kordic’s life. I read it years ago. Can’t remember the name of it, but it was pretty good, I remember.

  3. Tom, I sort of recall reading it to, but I’m fuzzy about it. I don’t have it, so maybe I got it from the library.

  4. My brother-in-law was his team mate when Johnny K was sent down. Just a great guy. On many occasions, he was the last to leave practise because he wanted to make sure all the kids got an autograph. Interesting to find that some of his on-ice critics and detractors who complained of his ghosts and addictions, later suffered from addictions of their own. Although he destroyed his own career and his addictions took his life, he didn’t hurt anyone, unlike others.

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