Ron Wilson (ice hockey, born 1955)

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For the other Ron Wilson associated with ice hockey, see Ron Wilson (ice hockey b. 1956).
Ron Wilson
Ron Wilson cropper.JPG
Born (1955-05-28) May 28, 1955 (age 59)
Windsor, ON, CAN
Height 5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
Weight 175 lb (79 kg; 12 st 7 lb)
Position Defense
Shot Right
Played for Minnesota North Stars
HC Davos
Kloten Flyers
Toronto Maple Leafs
National team  United States
NHL Draft 132nd overall, 1975
Toronto Maple Leafs
WHA Draft 176th overall, 1974
Houston Aeros
Playing career 1977–1988

Ronald Lawrence Wilson (born May 28, 1955) is a Canadian-born American former professional ice hockey player and head coach. In his coaching career in the NHL, he has coached the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Washington Capitals, San Jose Sharks and Toronto Maple Leafs. He also was head coach of the United States men's national ice hockey team at the 1998 and 2010 Winter Olympics. Wilson holds dual citizenship of the United States and Canada.

Early years[edit]

Wilson was born in Windsor, Ontario, and raised in Fort Erie, Ontario. He moved from Fort Erie to Riverside, Rhode Island, when he was 12 years old.[1] As a result, Wilson holds dual citizenship of Canada and the United States, and has represented Team USA in both playing and coaching.

Both his father, Larry Wilson, and his uncle, Johnny Wilson played for the Detroit Red Wings in the 1950s and later coached in the NHL.

He began his career playing hockey at East Providence High School and then went on to attend Providence College, where he set several NCAA defenseman scoring records and was named the ECAC Player of the Year in 1975. He was a teammate of Brian Burke and Jeffrey Nixon[2] at Providence. Burke and Wilson now work together for USA Hockey and formerly for the Toronto Maple Leafs.[3]

Playing career[edit]

After his successful college career, he was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League in the 1975 NHL Entry Draft in the eighth round. He played only parts of 3 seasons with the Maple Leafs before spending six years in Switzerland, playing for EHC Kloten and HC Davos of Nationalliga A. He returned to the NHL in 1985 and played three seasons with the Minnesota North Stars before retiring as a player in 1988.

Wilson was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes at the age of 24.

Wilson also played on the U.S. national hockey team on a number of occasions throughout his career, including the 1975, 1981, 1983 and 1987 Ice Hockey World Championship tournaments.

Coaching career[edit]


Vancouver Canucks[edit]

Wilson's coaching career began in 1990, where he became an assistant coach for the Vancouver Canucks.

Mighty Ducks of Anaheim[edit]

In 1993, Wilson was named as the first coach of the expansion Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, where he coached the team for 4 years.

Washington Capitals[edit]

After the Ducks released him following the 1996–97 NHL season, Wilson was hired to coach the Washington Capitals. In his first year coaching the Washington Capitals, he led the team to the Stanley Cup Finals, where the Capitals were defeated by the Detroit Red Wings in four games.

The appearance in the Finals would prove to be the highlight of Wilson's tenure in Washington. In the season immediately following Washington's run to the Finals, the Caps backslid significantly and missed the playoffs. In the 1999–2000 and 2000–01 seasons, Wilson led the team to back-to-back Southeast Division titles, though the team failed to advance past the first round of the playoffs, losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins both times.

San Jose Sharks[edit]

With the elimination of the Sharks in the 2007 Playoffs by the Detroit Red Wings, Wilson became the first coach in NHL postseason history to lose to the same team with three different franchises.[4]

Wilson earned his 500th win of his coaching career when the Sharks beat the Nashville Predators 4–3 on February 9, 2008, at HP Pavilion at San Jose. He is the 11th coach in the history of the NHL to reach 500 victories.[5]

On March 1, 2008, Wilson became the coach with most wins in Sharks franchise history with 193 wins, and passed Darryl Sutter, who held the earlier record of 192 wins. The San Jose Sharks beat the St. Louis Blues, 2–0, which gave Wilson the win. Wilson's record was later surpassed by Todd McLellan in 2013.[6] As of March 1, 2008, he is currently in 9th place on the NHL’s list of coaches’ victories of all time with 505 victories.[7]

On May 12, 2008, Wilson was fired by Doug Wilson (no relation), after three straight second round exits in the playoffs.

Toronto Maple Leafs[edit]

On June 10, 2008 Ron Wilson signed on as the new head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs by Cliff Fletcher who was an interim general manager at the time, for a 4-year contract worth $5.6 million plus incentives.

On January 11, 2011, he won his 600th game as an NHL coach, becoming only the seventh coach to accomplish the feat. The 4–2 victory came against his former team, San Jose.

On March 2, 2012, he was fired from the Leafs,[8] despite being given a 1-year contract extension on December 26, 2011.[9]

Wilson is 4th on the all-time list of the number of games coached.

International career[edit]

Wilson first coached internationally at the 1996 IIHF World Championship in Vienna, where he guided the United States to a bronze medal, the country's first medal at the tournament in 34 years. Later that year, he was named the team's coach at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, where he led the Americans to the tournament championship.

Following this success, Wilson again coached the Americans at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, where they went a disappointing 1-3, beating only Belarus and being eliminated by the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals.

In April 2009 he was named the head coach for the U.S. Olympic hockey team for the 2010 Winter Olympics. The team went undefeated through round robin play and advanced through the knockout stages, losing to Canada in the final in overtime. The team won the silver medal.[10]

Coaching style[edit]

As a coach, Wilson is well known for integrating technology into his coaching plans. During his stint with the Washington Capitals, he and assistant coach Tim Hunter introduced personal computers into the team's strategy planning and burned DVDs of Capitals games for the team to review. In his stint with the San Jose Sharks, Wilson introduced a tablet computer to be used in the team bench by himself or his assistants to instantly plan out strategies and review plays.[11]

Coaching record[edit]

Team Year Regular season Post season
G W L T OTL Pts Finish Result
Mighty Ducks of Anaheim 1993–94 84 33 46 5 - 71 4th in Pacific Missed playoffs
1994–95 48 16 27 5 - 37 6th in Pacific Missed playoffs
1995–96 82 35 39 8 - 78 4th in Pacific Missed playoffs
1996–97 82 36 33 13 - 85 2nd in Pacific Lost in second round
Washington Capitals 1997–98 82 40 30 12 - 92 3rd in Atlantic Lost in Cup Finals
1998–99 82 31 45 6 - 68 4th in Southeast Missed playoffs
1999–2000 82 44 24 12 2 102 1st in Southeast Lost in first round
2000–01 82 41 27 10 4 96 1st in Southeast Lost in first round
2001–02 82 36 33 11 2 85 2nd in Southeast Missed playoffs
San Jose Sharks 2002–03 57 19 25 7 6 73 5th in Pacific Missed playoffs
2003–04 82 43 21 12 6 104 1st in Pacific Lost in Conf. Champ
2005–06 82 44 27 - 11 99 2nd in Pacific Lost in second round
2006–07 82 51 26 - 5 107 2nd in Pacific Lost in second round
2007–08 82 49 23 - 10 108 1st in Pacific Lost in second round
Toronto Maple Leafs 2008–09 82 34 35 - 13 81 5th in Northeast Missed playoffs
2009–10 82 30 38 - 14 74 5th in Northeast Missed playoffs
2010–11 82 37 34 - 11 85 4th in Northeast Missed playoffs
2011–12 64 29 28 - 7 65 Fired
Total 1401 648 561 101 91 1510

See also[edit]

Awards and honors[edit]

Award Year
All-ECAC Hockey First Team 1974–75
AHCA East All-American 1974–75
All-ECAC Hockey First Team 1975–76
AHCA East All-American 1975–76
All-ECAC Hockey Second Team 1976–77


  1. ^ Hornby, Lance (June 10, 2008). "Welcome to the jungle". CANOE -- SLAM! Sports. 
  2. ^ "Jeffrey Nixon Statistics". 
  3. ^ Brian Burke says he'll keep Ron Wilson
  4. ^ Niyo, John (May 9, 2007). "Red Wings keep coming". Detroit News. 
  5. ^ (February 2008). Cheechoo, Thornton, Michalek Shine in 4–3 Win; 500th NHL Victory for Wilson. Retrieved on February 9, 2008.
  6. ^ Pashelka, Curtis (2013-03-14). "San Jose Sharks beat Los Angeles Kings 4-3". Inside Bay Area. Retrieved 2013-03-14. 
  7. ^ (March 2008). Wilson Sets Franchise Coaching Wins Mark: Head Coach Ron Wilson Becomes Sharks All-Time Coaching Wins Leader. Retrieved on March 1, 2008.
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Wilson to Coach Olympic Hockey Team ESPN, April 3, 2009
  11. ^ Dean, Katie (April 20, 2004). "With a DVR, the Puck Stops Here". Wired News. 

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Vic Stanfield
ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Year
Succeeded by
Bob Miller
Preceded by
Randy Roth
ECAC Hockey Player of the Year
Succeeded by
Peter Brown