Executive Vice President and General Manager
Since being named the team’s executive vice president and general manager on May 13, 2003, Doug Wilson has strategically built the San Jose Sharks into one of the National Hockey League’s top franchises through strong drafting, shrewd trades and timely free agent signings.
In his eight seasons in charge of the Sharks hockey department, Wilson has guided the team to its most successful era since the franchise’s inception, capturing a Presidents’ Trophy (2009), five Pacific Division titles and advancing to the Western Conference Final on three occasions (2004, 2010, 2011).
In his tenure as general manager, only the Detroit Red Wings have appeared in more Stanley Cup Playoff rounds (19) than San Jose (17).
During that same span, the Sharks have averaged 106 points per season, rank second in the NHL in regular season points (849 points, 382-189-85 record) and are second in wins among all NHL teams.
The Sharks have eight consecutive 40+ win seasons (tied for second-most among current NHL teams) and they posted five consecutive 100-point seasons (2007-2011).
Wilson’s focus in team-building is forging the team through drafting and development, retaining the organization’s key players and making the Sharks organization a place that players want to come and play. Entering the 2012-13 season, since the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, Wilson’s first at the helm of the team, Sharks draft selections have played the second-most games of any NHL team’s draft picks (4,078), despite the organization having the lowest average draft position of any NHL team during that span (137.96).
In his current role, Wilson, 55, has overall authority regarding all hockey-related operations. He oversees all player personnel decisions, negotiates player contracts, coordinates the efforts of the team's scouting department, leads the team in its draft day preparation and administers the club's player evaluation process at all professional, minor and junior levels.
Wilson serves as one of the franchise’s alternate governors to the NHL’s Board of Governors
In his previous role as the team’s director of pro development (1997-03), the 16-year NHL veteran’s responsibilities included evaluating talent at all professional and minor league levels and continuous assessment of the Sharks roster and reserve list. In addition, he provided valuable input assisting in the club’s player development programs and consulting with the hockey department on all major personnel issues, special assignments and contract negotiations.
Working closely with the entire hockey department, Wilson played a major role in creating a positive atmosphere in the dressing room and on-the-ice attractiveness to obtaining and retaining veteran free agents during the team’s re-building period such as Vincent Damphousse, Mike Ricci, Gary Suter, Scott Thornton and Mike Vernon.
Wilson was an integral member of the NHL Players’ Association for four years (1993-97). A past president of the NHLPA, he also served as coordinator of player relations and business development, where he was primarily responsible for overseeing player relations, the development of business ventures and managing international affairs.
Wilson sat on the board of the Canadian Hockey Association and has extensive experience in talent evaluation. He served as management consultant for Canada’s entries in the 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1997 World Junior Championship tournaments — resulting in four consecutive gold medal finishes and also served on the management team for Canada’s entry in the 1998 Winter Olympic Games.
Wilson draws on a vast amount of hockey knowledge and expertise throughout his on-and-off the ice experiences. His older brother, Murray, played seven NHL seasons, capturing four Stanley Cup Championships with the Montreal Canadiens (1973, 1976-78) as a teammate of Sharks current associate coach Larry Robinson. As a member of the Ontario Hockey League’s Ottawa 67s, Wilson played for Hall of Famer Brian Kilrea, junior hockey’s all-time winningest coach. During his tenure with the Chicago Blackhawks, he was a teammate of NHL legend Bobby Orr and a roommate with Hockey Hall of Famer Stan Mikita.
In 2004, Wilson was named to the NHL Game Committee, a panel of players, coaches, executives and media responsible for examining all aspects of the game. The committee, which initially met during the offseason, included Hall of Fame Coach Scotty Bowman, Pittsburgh’s Chairman of the Board Mario Lemieux, among others.
A first round draft choice (sixth overall) by the Blackhawks in 1977 after a stellar junior career with the Ottawa 67s, Wilson played 14 seasons in Chicago and still ranks as the club’s highest scoring defenseman in points (779 — fifth overall), goals (225 — 12th overall) and assists (554 — third overall). Wilson ranks fifth all-time in games played (938) for Chicago. In addition, he led all Blackhawks defensemen in scoring for ten consecutive seasons (1980-81 through 1990-91) and captured the 1982 James Norris Memorial Trophy, symbolic of the League’s top defenseman, when he tallied 39 goals and 85 points — still Blackhawks single-season records for goals and points for a defenseman.
Acquired by San Jose from Chicago just before the Sharks inaugural season (1991-92), Wilson brought instant credibility and respect to the young franchise. He played two seasons for the Sharks, scoring 48 points (12 goals, 36 assists) in 86 games.
He was selected to eight NHL All-Star Games (seven with Chicago and one with San Jose) and while with Chicago, Wilson was named as an NHL First Team All-Star in 1982 and twice was named as an NHL Second Team All-Star (1985 and 1990).
Included in Wilson’s Sharks career highlights are serving as the franchise’s first team captain (1991-93), being the team’s first representative in an All-Star Game (1991-92), playing in his NHL-milestone 1,000th game on Nov. 21, 1992 (77th player in League history) and twice named Sharks nominee (1992 and 1993) for the King Clancy Award (for leadership and humanitarian contributions both on-and-of the ice). At his 1,000th NHL game played ceremony, he announced the creation of the Doug Wilson Scholarship Foundation, to provide assistance to worthy college-bound Bay Area students, which continues today.
Wilson announced his retirement as a member of the Sharks during training camp in 1993-94 after playing in 1,024 career games. In addition, he played in 95 career playoff games and scored 80 points (19 goals, 61 assists). The Ottawa, Ontario native scored 827 points (237 goals, 590 assists) during his career that began in 1977-78 with Chicago.
In 2004, Wilson was named to the Positive Coaching Alliance’s National Advisory Board. PCA, established at Stanford University in 1998, looks to create a positive character-building experience by using sports to teach life lessons while de-emphasizing the “win-at-all-cost” mentality.
Wilson was inducted into the Chicago Sports Hall of Fame in September 1999. He also serves on the NHL’s board of directors for the alumni association.
In October 1998, the Ottawa 67s honored his stellar career by retiring his No. 7 sweater. Known as an offensive defenseman, he recorded 295 points in 194 Ontario Hockey League games with the 67s from 1975-77. In addition, during the same weekend of activities in his hometown, he was inducted into the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame.
Wilson and his wife, Kathy, have four children: Lacey, Doug, Chelsea and Charlie.
PLAYING CAREER OF DOUG WILSON
Drafted by Chicago in 1977 (1st round, 6th overall). Traded by Chicago to San Jose in exchange for Kerry Toporowski and a second round selection (27th overall) in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft, Sept. 6, 1991. Retired, Sept. 10, 1993.
HONORS: OHA First All-Star Team (1977), NHL First All-Star Team (1982), James Norris Trophy (NHL’s top defenseman, 1982), NHL Second All-Star Team (1985 and 1990), NHL All-Star Game (1982-86, 1990 and 1992).