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True stories and hard-won lessons about a life of hockey, from a Stanley Cup champion and top analyst.
As a child growing up in Toronto, Nick Kypreos lived for hockey and dreamed of following in his idols’ footsteps to play in the NHL. Hockey was an important part of the Kypreos household. It was largely through the game that his immigrant Greek parents acclimatized to their new lives in Canada, and from a young age “Kyper” proved he was more than good enough to move through the ranks. But he was never a top prospect—he didn’t even attend the NHL draft when he became eligible. And yet, through dedication and constant improvement, he made it to the show.
Kypreos built a career on his tireless work ethic and made a name for himself for always having a positive influence on team morale. A medium-weight fighter, he squared off with the league’s toughest players, including Chris Simon, Joey Kocur, Tony Twist, and Scott Stevens—anything to give his team an edge. Ultimately, he was brought to the New York Rangers to help them win the Stanley Cup in 1994—their first in fifty-four years—with the legendary Mark Messier. And then he got to live his other dream: playing for his hometown team, the Toronto Maple Leafs.
When a concussion forced him to retire early, it changed his life. But the lessons he’d learned on the ice over eight seasons helped him build a new career as a top hockey analyst and personality for Sportsnet. For twenty seasons he provided unique insight on the evolving game, and a player’s perspective on the biggest discussions of the day.
Revealing, fun, and brutally honest, Undrafted shows the challenges of being a pro player. It’s a story of the resilience it takes to prove yourself every night, and how the right attitude can lead to the greatest success, not only in the arena, but in life.
About the Author
Nick Kypreos is a Canadian retired professional ice hockey left winger who played eight seasons in the NHL for the Washington Capitals, Hartford Whalers, New York Rangers, and Toronto Maple Leafs. In 1994, he won the Stanley Cup with the New York Rangers, helping the historic franchise end a fifty-four-year Cup drought. Following his retirement from the NHL in 1998, he started a new career as one of the first broadcasters for Sportsnet. Over twenty-one years on air, he became a top hockey analyst, culminating with a seat on Hockey Night in Canada. Connect with him on Twitter @RealKyper.
Perry Lefko is an award-winning journalist and multiple bestselling author. He has published nine sports books, the most recent of which is Eddie Olczyk: Beating the Odds in Hockey and in Life with the retired NHL player and current NBC hockey and horse racing broadcaster. He’s also written books with wrestler Bret Hart, football players Doug Flutie and Mike (Pinball) Clemons, jockey Sandy Hawley, and curlers Sandy Schmirler and Colleen Jones. He lives in Mississauga with his wife, Jane. They have two children, Ben and Shayna.
“It was such a joy to sit beside Nick as he prepared to go on the air. I swear he filled a notebook every night. What he was creating was a way of dreaming his world into being. Truly a warrior with a personal vision who took basic steps in every walk of life to ensure everyone’s success. He’s your essential Game 7 guy.”
— RON MacLEAN, broadcaster
“Having known Kyper for over twenty-five years, I’ve had a front row seat for many of his triumphs and trials in the game of hockey and Undrafted takes you through them all. It’s a thoroughly entertaining read from one of the true characters of the game who has an enormous personality and a heart of gold.”
— CHRISTINE SIMPSON, broadcaster
“Nick is a good dude with a lot of good stories. He did an amazing job going from an NHL player to becoming a major player on the Canadian hockey media-scape, especially once he figured out the difference between a tweet and a direct message. Good guy; good book.”
— BOB McKENZIE, one of “those f*ers at TSN”
“Nick has always been one of the biggest characters in the game and Undrafted captures his amazing underdog story so well. Don’t let his tough exterior fool you—Nick is a softy who shares his life story with great humour and class.”
— DAVID AMBER, host of Hockey Night in Canada and NHL on Sportsnet
“Face-first in his own blood after a fight gone horribly wrong at Madison Square Garden 23 years ago, there were fears Kypreos would never get up. But while his playing career was done, an extraordinary second life began. With zero broadcast training, the tough guy became a dogged insider of Sportsnet and its ratings war with TSN. Kypreos concisely explains the inner workings of the business, dueling daily news shows of the rivalry, and how each network lived for the big scoop on Trade Deadline or Free Agent Day. Kypreos also has an eventful past, which former Sun sports writer Lefko draws out in chapters about ‘growing up Greek’ in Toronto, junior hockey, a Cup win, gossip page fodder in New York, his time in the Leafs fish bowl, and Saturday night on set.”
— Ottawa Sun