Wilson had been active in a coaching role with the NHL for the past 30 seasons. He has spent over 18 years with the Stars and was part of their coaching staff that earned Dallas’ first Stanley Cup in 1999. In addition to coaching the Dallas Stars from 1993-2009, he also served as assistant coach with the Minnesota North Stars during their last season from 1992-1993. He was also the head coach briefly during the 2001-2002 season with a record of 13-11-7 through 32 games. During his tenure with the Stars franchise, the 67-year-old earned two Presidents’ Trophies, seven division titles, and two Western Conference championships.
In addition to coaching for the Minnesota North Stars/Dallas Stars, Wilson was also a bench boss for the Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, New York Islanders, St. Louis Blues, and Tampa Bay Lightning. During that time, he made two Stanley Cup Final appearances in 1999 and 2000 and he coached 214 playoff games with a record of 105-109. His overall coaching record for 2,306 regular-season games was 1,159-846-301.
From Zubov to Hatcher to Klingberg, Rick Wilson has helped shape some of the finest defensemen to play for the Stars organization. Thank you, Coach! pic.twitter.com/jyHdMz8F1U— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) May 18, 2018
Wilson is originally from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and began his NHL career as a defensemen. He was selected in the fifth round by Montreal in the 1970 draft. Through his four seasons playing on the blue line, he tallied 32 points (six goals, 26 assists) in 239 games. He played for the Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, and the St. Louis Blues. He also played in three postseason games, but recorded no points.
After his time spent as a player, Wilson became an assistant coach for the 1988-1989 season with the New York Islanders. Following that, he transitioned to assistant coach with the Los Angeles Kings for the 1989-1992 seasons. From 1992-2009, Wilson served in a coaching capacity for the Stars franchise first in Minnesota and then in Dallas. Wilson departed for Tampa Bay for the 2009-2010 season and then served as assistant coach with the Minnesota Wild from 2010-2016 for six seasons. Wilson worked with former head coach Ken Hitchcock in St. Louis for the 2016-2017 season before returning to the Stars last year.
The Stars released a statement from Wilson regarding his retirement:
”I want to thank all of the owners, general managers and coaches that gave me the opportunity over the last three decades to work in the game that I love so dearly,” Wilson said. “As I look back on my time as a coach in the NHL, I feel a strong sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Very few individuals in their coaching career have the opportunity to work with incredibly talented athletes like Seregi Zubov, Derian Hatcher, Alex Pietrangelo, Ryan Suter, Matt Niskanen, Jared Spurgeon and John Klingberg. These are a few of the names that stand out, but this list can go on and on involving all positions. The game of hockey has provided my family and I so many opportunities and we are forever appreciative.”
Dallas GM Jim Nill stated that “We are grateful to Rick and all that he has brought to the Dallas Stars organization and the NHL over his many seasons behind the bench. ...He has left a lasting impact on this franchise through the countless hours he’s spent teaching, instructing and developing players as well as preparing them to perform at the highest level on the ice.”
The Stars have not yet released details regarding candidates for Wilson’s role.
From all of us at Defending Big D, we’d like to say thank you to Rick Wilson for his steady presence behind the bench and for his incredible coaching record. Wilson has left quite a legacy for the Stars franchise and large shoes to fill for the next assistant coach. Thank you, Rick, and enjoy retirement.