pieri

wilson

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
  Regular Season Playoffs
Season Team GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1950-51 Indianapolis Capitals 53 12 23 35 14 3 0 1 1 0
1951-52 Indianapolis Capitals 62 19 40 59 30 -- -- -- -- --
1955-56 Buffalo Bisons 62 39 39 78 74 5  0 2 2 4
1956-57 Buffalo Bisons 64 22 45 67 71 -- -- -- -- --
1957-58 Buffalo Bisons 70 26 53 79 48 -- -- -- -- --
1958-59 Buffalo Bisons 66 24 39 63 26 11  0 5 5 7
1959-60 Buffalo Bisons 64 33 45 78 18 -- -- -- -- --
1960-61 Buffalo Bisons 72 30 54 84 62 4  0 2 2 0
1961-62 Buffalo Bisons 68 9 25 34 28 10  3 0 3 4
1962-63 Buffalo Bisons 72 16 29 45 30 13  1 3 4 0
1963-64 Buffalo Bisons 71 17 26 43 38 -- -- -- -- --
1964-65 Buffalo Bisons 31 0 7 7 12 -- -- -- -- --
1965-66 Buffalo Bisons 38 13 12 25 8 -- -- -- -- --
1966-67 Buffalo Bisons 65 28 37 65 60 -- -- -- -- --
1967-68 Buffalo Bisons 41 10 18 28 24 -- -- -- -- --
  Playing Totals 899 298 492 790 543 46 4 13 17 15

 

   
Regular Season
Playoffs
Season Team GP W L T Pts Pct Finish GP W L Pct Finish
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
222 63 395 .438   39 13 26 .333