He made his career as a strong skater and was hard if not impossible to slow down. He was nicknamed after a popular French song of the day by the same name, "le Gros Bill," and in all he played on an incredible 10 Stanley Cup-winning teams as a member of
Although he played for the St. Louis Blues and the Boston Bruins, he spent most of his time in the league with the Montreal Canadiens, and it was with the Habs that he established himself as a member of the team's "Big Three" defensive specialists.
Prior to coming to the NHL in the 1986-87 season, Joe Nieuwendyk attended Cornell University and while there, he played for their hockey team for three seasons. After university, he played for the Canadian National Team.