Eric Nesterenko was a versatile right-winger who played 1,343 regular season and playoff games in an NHL career that lasted two decades. He could score, play a physical game, and play effectively on the power play and penalty killing units.
The native of Flin Flon, Manitoba was a top scorer in junior with the Toronto Marlboros of the OHA. The parent Maple Leafs for one game recalled him in 1951-52 then spent half the next season in the NHL. Nesterenko filled a checking role for the most and was considered an agitator who could throw the opposition off its game. He was considered lethal in the corners where he became known as "Elbows" around the league.
Toronto no longer had space for Nesterenko by the late 1950s so he was traded to the Chicago Black Hawks for cash on May 21, 1956. The big winger went on to play 16 years for the Hawks and hit double figures in goals 12 times. During 1960-61 he scored 19 goals playing on a line with Tod Sloan and Ron Murphy. That spring the solid play of this trio contributed to Chicago's first Stanley Cup win in 23 years.
Nesterenko continued to be a hard-working member of the Hawks through to the end of the 1971-72 season. He was picked to suit up for the All-Stars against the Stanley Cup champion Toronto Maple Leafs in 1965 and helped the Hawks reach the 1965 finals and finish first in the NHL standings for the first time ever in 1966-67. By the early '70s he was more of a role player with limemates Gerry Pinder and Dan Maloney but did take part in the 1971 Stanley Cup finals which Chicago lost in the seventh and deciding game to the Montreal Canadiens. Nesterenko retired in 1972 but returned to play 29 games for the WHA's Chicago Cougars in 1973-74. He stepped aside again for 12 months then returned for one last season with the senior Trail Smoke Eaters.