Nick Fotiu was a hard-nosed left-winger who relied on hard work and emotion to play 646 NHL games between 1976 and 1988. He battled relentless in the corners and often provided a big hit against the opposition to lift the spirits of his team. The soft side of Fotiu emerged before each game when he tossed pucks into the crowd following his team's warm-up.
Born in Staten Island, New York, Fotiu played amateur with the New Hyde Park Arrows in NYJHL. After taking a year off due to an injury, he scored 36 points and registered 371 penalty minutes for the Cape Cod Cubs of the North American Hockey League. In June 1974 he signed with the WHA's New England Whalers and played two seasons.
"Nicky Boy" had the local media stirring when he returned home after signing with the Rangers in July 1976. He played three seasons in New York where he brought the Madison Square Garden fans to their feet with his thunderous checks and boundless energy. In 1979, Fotiu played four games in the post-season when the Rangers made it to the Stanley Cup finals. That summer he was exposed in the Expansion Draft and selected by the Hartford Whalers.
After a season-and-a-half in Connecticut, Fotiu returned to the Rangers and remained for nearly five years. In March 1986 the Calgary Flames sought his grit as they were gearing up for the playoffs. Fotiu played eleven games as the Flames reached the Stanley Cup finals for the first time in franchise history. He played one more season in Calgary the signed with the Philadelphia Flyers for the 1987-88 season. He was out of hockey for most of the 1988-89 schedule but signed as a free agent with the Edmonton Oilers but only played one game.
Fotiu retired in 1990 after playing a year with the AHL's New Haven Nighthawks. He later turned to coaching and was the bench boss of the ECHL's Nashville Knights from 1992 to 1994. After getting his feet wet behind the bench in Nashville, Fotiu moved on to Johnstown for three seasons before making the jump to the AHL in 1998-99 as an assistant coach with the Kentucky Thorougblades. Fotiu's AHL resume includes stops in Kentucky, Cleveland and Hartford.