Name: Doug Wilson
Weight: 187 lbs
Drafted: 1977 by Chicago; 1st round, 6th overall
Sweater Number: 24
Doug Wilson was the first captain of the San Jose Sharks, and to this day continues to be an important member of the San Jose team.
He wasn't the last NHL veteran to play without a helmet, but the gritty Wilson did finish his NHL career helmetless in 1993. "I did not wear a helmet, and that was just from the time I broke into the league, that was the common occurrence."
Wilson's outstanding 16-year career spanned 1,024 regular-season games in which he appeared in seven All-Star games and 95 playoff games. The 6-foot-1, 187-pound defenseman also won the Norris Trophy for his 39-goal, 85-point season in 1981-82.
Wilson began his career as Chicago's first pick in the 1977 amateur
draft, No. 6 overall, and immediately made an impact on the Blackhawks'
blue line, scoring 14 goals in his rookie season. He went on to score
another 211 goals in Chicago and compiled 779 points, good for fifth in
franchise history. He also ranks third in assists and fifth in games
Injuries, though, were almost as much a part of Wilson's career as points. He had one knee surgery, one ankle surgery and two shoulder surgeries. He also broke or fractured his jaw, nose, skull, right hand and foot. The Blackhawks eventually traded him at the end of the 1990-91 season to San Jose for Kerry Toporowski, who never wore an NHL sweater.
"I had a no-trade clause in my contract and the trade was on my own volition because many of the players I had played with were no longer there and the environment at that time with the inner battles within management made me realize it was time to move on to another challenge. Coming to San Jose was like being a pioneer and was a tremendously enjoyable experience for both me and my family."
Wilson captained the Sharks in 1991-92 and 1992-93, scoring 12 goals and 48 points in his final two NHL seasons, but knee injuries eventually ended his career.
Wilson now sponsors the Doug Wilson Scholarship Award, awarded annually by Wilson and the Sharks to Santa Clara County high school student-athletes.
So what were Wilson's greatest hockey moments?
"I think two things ... playing and winning the Canada Cup
in 1984. Any time it's best on best, Gretzky, Bourque, Bossy, Messier,
Coffey. The Russians still had the KLM line. That was probably the
greatest game I played in. For me, winning the Norris Trophy when my
father was still alive, because he gave me so much as a boy growing up."
"To have played 14 years in the greatest hockey rink in the world, the old Chicago Stadium, in front of the best hockey fans there is, was a privilege and something I enjoyed, something every player should have experienced."