By Michael Walters
Wilson was Anaheim’s first head coach in 1993-94 and through the 1996-97 season. His coaching record was 120-145-31 while with the Mighty Ducks. He led Anaheim to their first winning season in 1996-97 with a record of 36-33-13. The Ducks won their first ever playoff series against the then Phoenix Coyotes going the distance of seven games that same season. The Ducks were then knocked out of the playoffs in the second round by the hands of the Detroit Red Wings.
In the 1997-98 NHL season, Wilson began his tenure as the head coach of the Washington Capitals. He took them to the Stanley Cup Final only to lose to the Detroit Red Wings. Wilson also coached the San Jose Sharks and Toronto Maple Leafs. His overall NHL coaching record was 648-561-101-91(W-L-T-OL).
He also coached Team USA to victory over Canada in the 1996 World Cup of Hockey. In 2010, he coached Team USA to the gold medal game in the Vancouver Olympics. Team USA lost in overtime to Team Canada. Wilson’s last job was with Team USA at the 2016 World Juniors, where he guided a loaded team featuring Auston Matthews, Zach Werenski, and Matthew Tkachuk to a bronze medal in Finland.
During the mid-1990’s I began writing and editing for my high school paper. I had the privilege to do a quick interview with Ron Wilson when he was the head coach of the Mighty Ducks. He was the first sports player/coach I ever interviewed. He took the time to answer my questions and was a class act during the interview. I wish him a speedy recovery.
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December 14, 2016