A “player’s coach” is a sports cliché.
However, you don’t hear often of someone who’s a player’s GM.
Being a general manager can be a cold business, but Doug Wilson bucked that trend: He was a player’s GM.
Perhaps because of lessons that Wilson learned during his own Hall of Fame playing career – the defenseman captained both the Chicago Blackhawks and the San Jose Sharks – the GM’s players often felt like he had their backs, on and off the ice.
And it wasn’t just his players who felt that way about Wilson.
From the top of the San Jose Sharks organization – did you hear Wilson speak up for owner Hasso Plattner during his Appreciation Night speech? – to anywhere else, it wasn’t hard to find a member of the Sharks family happy to talk about the family-like culture that Wilson fostered in his 19 years as GM, from 2003 to 2022.
And we haven’t even mentioned his on-the-ice success: From 2003-04 to 2018-19, Wilson’s Sharks made the playoffs in all but one season, highlighted by a Stanley Cup Final in 2016 and Western Conference Finals appearances in 2004, 2010, 2011, and 2019.
Mike Grier, Ned Colletti, Tim Burke, Tom Holy, Peter DeBoer, Roy Sommer, Logan Couture, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Matt Nieto, James Reimer, Tomas Hertl, Dan Boyle, Tommy Wingels, and Dan Rusanowsky lent their voices.
Let’s start with the San Jose Sharks players.
Mike Grier: He always created a little bit of a family environment here. As players, we all felt like we were in it together.
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