Ron Wilson is best known as a successful NHL and international coach, but he had a long playing career as well.
Born in Windsor Ontario but growing up in the United States with dual citizenship, Ron enjoyed a varied career. He first gained the attention of NHL scouts while playing at Providence College. In his four years at Providence, he was an All-American selection twice and made the All-Hockey East team all four years. He was named Hockey East Player of the Year after he led the nation in scoring (26 goals, 61 assists in 26 games) in just his second collegiate season.
Wilson was drafted 132nd overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1975 and began his professional career with the Dallas Blackhawks (of the now-defunct Central Hockey League) the following season. He joined the Maple Leafs in 1977-78 and played in 64 NHL games over three seasons. However his size, or more accurately lack-there-of, really hurt him at the NHL level.
In 1980, Wilson headed to Europe where his style of play allowed him to dominate the Swiss elite leagues for the next six seasons. He returned to the NHL in 1985 when he signed with the Minnesota North Stars as a free agent.and spent parts of 4 seasons in Minnesota, but retired as an active player at the conclusion of an injury plagued 1987-88 season.
Wilson has a deep family history in hockey as his father, Larry, and uncle, Johnny, both won championships as members of the Detroit Red Wings organization.
Wilson turned to the world of coaching once his playing days were done. By 1990 he apprenticed under one of the best in the business with Pat Quinn's Vancouver Canucks. By 1993-94 he joined the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and guided them through their expansion years. He later went on to coach the Washington Capitals, playing a huge role in getting the upstart Caps to the Stanley Cup finals in 1998. he would later coach with San Jose and Toronto, too.
Wilson also has some very impressive international coaching assignments to include on his resume. Not the least of which was behing named Head Coach of the 1998 Winter Olympic squad and the 1996 Team USA World Cup of Hockey squad that defeated Canada for hockey supremacy.