Rick Wilson – Athlete
Richard Gordon Wilson was born in Prince Albert in August of 1950 and at a very young age it was evident that he would excel in sports.
Wilson played hockey, fastball and baseball in his youth, winning city championships in all three sports. In fastball, he played for the P.A. Wreckers and was a pitcher on a championship team at 10 years of age. In baseball, he was a pitcher and catcher for the Dog and Suds and again won a city title. Hockey, however, was his first love and after graduating through the minor ranks with the Parkland Community Club he played at the Junior “B” level with the Prince Albert Knights.
While attending high school at Riverside, Wilson added another sport to his portfolio as he was the quarterback for the Rams. It was while he was playing football that he first attracted outside attention and garnered local recognition.
Both the Saskatoon Hilltops of the Prairie Junior Football League and Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League showed an interest in the capabilities of the Prince Albert athlete and after three exhibition games with the Hilltops, the Roughriders sent Wilson to Grand Forks, N.D., on a football scholarship. Before he left, however, he was honoured as the Prince Albert athlete of the year in 1967. Wilson was a dual‑sport athlete for the Fighting Sioux in North Dakota as he played football in the fall and hockey all winter. Wilson’s talent on the blueline helped the Fighting Sioux win one division championship and in 1970 he was selected by the Montreal Canadiens in the National Hockey League entry draft ‑ 66th overall.
Wilson then turned professional and went to the Canadians’ farm team in Halifax before making the jump to the big league with Montreal, St. Louis and Detroit. Wilson’s professional career ended in 1978 when he played for the Philadelphia Flyers’ farm team in Hershey. In total, Wilson played in 239 NHL games scoring six goals and adding 26 assists. He also accumulated 165 minutes in penalties.
Wilson then returned to his alma mater in North Dakota where he finished his physical education degree with honours and got his masters in business administration. While completing his education, Wilson began his coaching career as he was an assistant with the fighting Sioux for two years.
In 1980 Wilson returned to Prince Albert and was an assistant coach and assistant general manager to Terry Simpson with the Saskatchewan junior Hockey League Prince Albert Raiders.
His first two years with the Raiders were highly successful as the club won back to back titles before moving up to the higher‑calibre Western Hockey League in 1982. After just three years at the new level, Wilson was again a national champion as he and Simpson had the Raiders hoisting the Memorial Cup in 1985.
When Simpson departed for the NHL to coach the New York Islanders in 1986, Wilson eased his way into the head coach and general manager positions with the Raiders. Wilson spent two years at the helm of the Raiders before he, too, returned to the NHL as an assistant to Simpson in Long Island.
After one season with the Islanders, Wilson moved to sunny California where he was an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Kings for four years before he moved on to Stars’ organization in Dallas.
Wilson’s accomplishments have been plentiful and it is with great pleasure that the Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame welcomes him into the athlete’s category of the local shrine.
Inducted into the Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame in 1995.