Larry Wilson enjoyed a long and distinguished career in the American Hockey League, spanning 15 seasons as a player and six more as a head coach.
A native of Kincardine, Ont., Wilson spent much of the early part of his playing career in the NHL with Detroit and Chicago, winning a Stanley Cup with the Red Wings in 1950. He also skated for two seasons with the AHL’s Indianapolis Capitals, and in 1955, he began a 13-year stay with the Buffalo Bisons that would see Wilson become that franchise’s all-time leader in every offensive category.
In his first season with Buffalo, Wilson was named a Second Team AHL All-Star after scoring 39 goals and putting up 78 points in 62 games. He helped the Bisons to the Calder Cup Finals in 1959 and picked up another Second Team All-Star nod in 1959-60 when he led Buffalo in team scoring with 33 goals and 78 points.
Another trip to the Finals ended in a loss to Springfield in 1962, but Wilson and the Bisons finally brought the Calder Cup back to Buffalo in 1963 after finishing with the best record in the league and knocking off Hershey in a tense seven-game series for the title.
Although his offensive numbers began to decline, Wilson remained an integral member of the Bisons organization, and he returned to the top of the team scoring page in 1966-67 when he notched 28 goals and 37 assists in 65 games.
Wilson played his last game in the AHL in 1968, and at that time his 790 career points were good for sixth all-time. Today, he ranks 12th in career scoring, ninth in assists (492) and 13th in games played (899). He finished among the AHL’s top 10 in scoring on five occasions during his career.
Following his playing career, Wilson began coaching and in his first season behind the bench led the Providence Reds to the Calder Cup Finals, where they lost to a Springfield Kings team coached by his brother Johnny. During his tenure with Providence (1970-72) and the Richmond Robins (1972-76), Wilson coached several future AHL and NHL bench bosses including Bill Barber, Paul Holmgren, Terry Murray and fellow AHL Hall of Famer John Paddock.
Wilson was named the first head coach of the AHL’s Adirondack Red Wings in 1979, but never got to see the ice in Glens Falls; at the age of 48, he suffered a fatal heart attack just prior to training camp. Larry Wilson’s legacy lives on through his son, Ron, a longtime NHL head coach in Anaheim, Washington, San Jose and, since 2008, Toronto.
|Career AHL Statistics – Larry Wilson
|1970-71||Providence Reds||72||28||31||13||69||.479||1st, Eastern||10||4||6||.400||Lost Final|
|1971-72||Providence Reds||76||28||37||11||67||.441||4th, Eastern||5||1||4||.200||Lost quarterfinal|
|1972-73||Richmond Robins||76||30||36||10||70||.461||4th, Western||4||0||4||.000||Lost quarterfinal|
|1973-74||Richmond Robins||76||22||40||14||58||.382||4th, Southern||5||1||4||.200||Lost quarterfinal|
|1974-75||Richmond Robins||75||29||39||7||65||.433||2nd, Southern||7||3||4||.429||Lost quarterfinal|
|1975-76||Richmond Robins||76||29||39||8||66||.434||2nd, Southern||8||4||4||.500||Lost semifinal|
|Head Coaching Totals||451||166