BORN MAY 2ND 1930, he was a graduate of the St Moritz practice sessions held towards the end of the Second World War and achieved sufficient greatness to have the MVP trophy of the Goodall Cup competition named in his honour for 34 years from 1966, the year he died. Originally presented to the Best and Fairest Goodall series player by teammates, it was later re-named in honour of New South Welshman, Ken Kennedy, when the Goodall Cup was taken over by the AIHL in 2000.
He first played for Eastern Suburbs when hockey resumed in 1946. He was 16 and remained with them as the Eastern Demons until 1950, then crossed to the Pirates. He was one of the members of the 14-foot Sailing Club that had formed the Pirates ice hockey club. Back then he played wing on a line with Keith Jose and Graham Argue, but switched to defense. "Any game worth its salt has its share of stormy characters," declared a 1956 Ice Hockey Guide, "who provide the colour, and quite often the blood and thunder that the fans, despite their talk of classic styles and clever moves, all love to see".
"One of the leading purveyors of the nerve tingling stuff in ice hockey...", continued the Guide. "But don't confuse [him] with the bush merchants whose sole hockey skill is to crash some unsuspecting opponent to the ice regardless of where the puck is. No; [he] is definitely one of our most talented members, and if necessary he can play straight hockey with the best. In fact, he stands so far up the ladder of our better players, that it is mostly a pity that he ever resorts to the strong man game. But when he does decide to liven things up, he certainly gives fans their money's worth."
He represented Victoria for five consecutive years, 1948 to 1952, and again in the 1960s, winning 5 Goodall Cups. He was selected captain of the 1954 Victorian side but could not play due to a leg injury and so it went to vice-captain, Geoff Henke. Instead he won the inaugural Presidents Medal that year, the VIHA Best and Fairest Player, all the more memorable because he was a stormy player, well-known for ruffling-up his opponents. When Sydney Glaciarium closed in 1956, the Goodall Cup series was suspended until 1961.
He was a member of Australia's first Olympic Ice hockey team in the 1960 Winter Olympic games at Squaw Valley, California, USA. He joined the Monarchs in Melbourne in the late-1950s and then the Blackhawks, returning to the Victorian squad in 1962 to win his fifth Goodall Cup at the age of 32. He representated Australia in the 2nd Olympic qualification team in Japan in 1963-4.
He was also a member of the Melbourne Collegians Water Polo Club with Olympic teammates, Peter Parrott and Russell Carson, and like them he was made a Life Member of the national association in 2000. Acknowledged as an all-round sportsman excelling in surfing, skiing and sailing, he was proficient in ice hockey in both offense and defense.
Ross Carpenter, 'Nicholas, John (1930-1966)', Legends of Australian Ice, Melbourne, Australia, http://icelegendsaustralia.com/legends-2/bio-nicholas.html, accessed online .
The men in our game, Ice Hockey Guide, 22 June 1956, p 11.
John Nicholas Memorial Trophy notes compiled by Sydney Tange, January 2nd 1994.