Wink Wilson (centre) poses with grandsons Brock Wilson (left) and Jordan Fox of the Nottingham Panthers.
William Richard (Dick) Wilson
Born: April 4, 1936 (Napanee, Ontario)
Died: January 18, 2015 (Kingston, Ontario)
Wink Wilson spent a season with the Nottingham Panthers of the British National League before playing four seasons of semiprofessional hockey in California.
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound skater grew up in Schumacher, Ont., where he played for the juvenile-A Schumacher Lions. He spent three seasons on a hockey scholarship with the Huskies at Michigan Tech, scoring 24 goals with 50 assists in 80 games over three seasons on the blue line from 1955 to 1958.
Wilson then went overseas to play briefly for the Panthers, scoring seven goals in Autumn Cup play.
In 1960, he joined the Long Beach Paramounts, where, playing left wing, he led the California Hockey League with 52 goals and 90 points. The team was renamed the Buccaneers and Gulls in his subsequent seasons until the circuit folded at the end of the 1962-63 season. He ended his playing career in 1966-67 with the Los Angeles Bruins of the Southern California Senior Hockey League.
Wilson was born in Napanee, Ont., and grew up in Timmins and Tillsonburg, where his father, Roy, also known as Wink, or Winky, operated an intermediate-A team owned by the Detroit Red Wings. The elder Wilson also scouted for the Red Wings, and his relationship with Detroit’s Jack Adams led his son to getting a tryout with the NHL club in training camp. When it was clear he would not make the team, Adams suggested he try playing hockey in England.
One of Wilson’s sons, Rik, had a 251 game NHL career with the St. Louis Blues, Calgary Flames and Chicago Blackhawks. Two of Wink’s grandsons, cousins Brock Wilson and Jordan Fox, went on to play professionally with Nottingham, as well.
Wilson coached hockey for many years, including the Kingston (Ont.) Voyageurs. He was a birddog scout for the Washington Capitals.
Away from the arena, Wilson spent 21 years with Corrections Canada. One of the inmates with whom he worked was former NHLer Rob Ramage, who served a four-year sentence for impaired driving causing death and dangerous driving causing death in a 2003 accident that killed Keith Magnuson, another former NHLer, who was a passenger in the rented car Ramage was driving.