Wilson on his health, Mike Grier, honored by the Sharks

Doug Wilson spoke this morning at the SAP Center on the eve of Thanksgiving.

Wilson, 65, spoke to the media for the first time since his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame last November at a downtown San Jose hotel.

The San Jose Sharks icon took a medical leave of absence from his role as GM two weeks after being inducted into the Hall of Fame, then stepped down permanently in April.

Wilson was the general manager of the Sharks from 2003 to 2022.

Doug Wilson’s opening statement:

Thanks again Haso [Plattner] And the whole organization is who I am because I think it’s a reflection of all the different people in this organization. Back to the Cow Palace days, back to the coaches, trainers, staff, office people.

I think you all know how I feel about Mr. [George] Gun. None of us would be here without him. Being here to represent the entire nation, 25-30 years down the line, is an honor that I take and can’t even express in words. To come back here to do this, acknowledge that I started [think about] Some memories, thinking of all the great players that have come through this organization, not just great players, but great people. And that includes the Cow Palace days, teams that made their first play-off until the last couple of years with the impact of covid… I’m very proud of our players.

Wilson, on his most memorable moments in San Jose:

The first game at Lam Palace was one.

The other one that jumps out at me, because I was on top of the building at Levi’s Stadium, it was emotional when you look down to see 70,000 people watching hockey in California and see that.

Going to the cup final, obviously, because that’s what it’s all about. And that’s what the ownership of this organization strives to help us win. We could not achieve that. But I don’t dismiss a lot of what the players and coaches have done here.

A special moment for me, almost a miracle in two ways, was Game Seven in Vegas, and to watch that game and see how we came back. I played in Chicago Stadium, which is one of the loudest in the world, but SAP was the loudest I’ve ever heard.

If you were there and felt it, a little aside: One of my friends had a massive heart attack during overtime at that game, and the three ticketed medics took him to the concert for 45 minutes. for about an hour. They thought they had lost three times. After the game I went down to the dressing room and didn’t see him.

The emotions, carrying someone from the lower seats to the concert in our building, was an amazing night for season ticket holders. The paramedics work on him for 45 minutes, the blue coats around him, and here at the same time is one of the greatest hockey games, so it can be a precursor to what happened. But it was that day and game that definitely stood out.

Wilson said of what happened to his friend:

Well, he had a heart attack this week. He survived and came back and is one of our biggest fans in the Sharks organization. A good friend, Gary Martin is his name, so he wants our thoughts and wishes with him.

Wilson on his own health:

In the past few years, everyone has been through an accident. It’s that I’m not where I should be. I have work ahead of me. I have great empathy for people who do things that you have to be vigilant about dealing with. I let some things slide and ended up in a not-so-good place, to be honest. I have some jobs and we have great doctors and we just leave it at that.

Wilson, if hockey stress has caused things to slide with his health:

I think it’s called life. There were things on different levels. So I’ll leave it at that.

Wilson was honored tonight:

I don’t see it as being for me. I will look at it again for that parallel. I can be a good representative for different people. And I’ll just say this, Mr. Gund, with his love for the game, his love for this organization, his love for life, we wouldn’t be here. This franchise will not be here.

So I think I represent a lot of people. It’s a shame to be me. To my family, what they said when they came here the first year. My wife, just pulled together and said, “Let’s go!” She was called All the players and staff who have families, it’s a family commitment to do this. So that’s it, I want them shut up too.

On Wilson’s decision to step down from the GM role in April:

It was the right thing. I don’t want to do anything about time or anything. Maybe I’ve been a bad patient. I should have known where it was going, and I probably should have said it earlier. I don’t look back and I’m very proud that one of our former players, Mike Grier, is involved. I think he will do a great job. I am a big fan of it. So it was the right time for the reasons I mentioned earlier.

Wilson, on how hard it was to watch last year and not be as involved as before:

I mean, it’s a great bunch of guys in there. We know that there will be evolution after Jumbo and Paws [left]. Especially, Tommy and Timo, Logan, young people are coming out. Every team in the league goes through this. We had a good run for a long time. It’s time to reset and get people to step up and do it.

But I will say, I think this group’s experience with COVID is different than most groups. Being on the road and having training camps and stuff – I remember the meeting we had, I think in Colorado after most of the trip. [in the 2020-21 season].

no [saw] A group that I was really concerned about, just the depression and the things that everyone else was going through. So I give a lot of credit to our guys for pushing, that really wasn’t easy.

Wilson, on the San Jose Sharks’ return to the postseason:

Look at the teams that take a step back in this league, you should definitely fill it up. In all the years we’ve gone for it, we’ve tried a lot of first-round picks and had a chance to win. You will pay for this.

I think the last two drafts, they added some talent and we got a combination of size. You have to have a mix of things to be able to compete in this game today.

So I don’t think people think about it because it’s about finding the right people in key positions, finding some amazing things. We want someone to come out of left field and make the team and sometimes make a big difference. But if you have a plan in this league [and] I think Mike has a plan: this team will be back in contention in the near future.

When Wilson learned of the San Jose Sharks’ hiring of Grier:

Yes, immediately, I sent a call to Mike. He did a lot of work for us when he came here. I remember where he sat in the dressing room. Come in, first place. [He just had] Being about it.

Maybe he will learn by osmosis like me. His brother is doing an obvious job. [with the Miami Dolphins]. He was in New York with Chris Drury and the whole team. I think he was prepared for it. And he surrounded himself with good people.

He is a good man. And I think this organization is in good hands.

Wilson on the disappearance of Brian Marchant:

This is where it gets hard, because I see people we’ve lost recently.

Be it Richie Perez, Tommy Woodcock or Mush. I don’t understand when these things happen, so I’m the wrong person to answer. So sad to break that news. I think we’ve all lost people over the last few years, and when you’re young, it’s tough out of left field.

Wilson, on why it’s important that his Thanksgiving night is against his former Chicago Blackhawks:

I had such a great experience in Chicago and you look back at the last one [years]people we lost, big influences [on me] With Stan Mikita, Keith Magnuson and Tony Esposito. These are the people who have influenced me as a person and as a person. [They] They were there for me when I was going through some difficult times, like when my father died.

My only children were born in Chicago, where I met my wife, playing for the Original Six. The range of players I’ve played with is endless: Troy Murray was an inspiration. Dirk Graham. Dale Talon. Bob Murray, Dennis Savard.

The list goes on, and I’ve only been thinking about that for the last couple of days. Playing for an original six team and a brand new expansion team is an experience not everyone gets.

When Wilson can return to action in hockey:

My priority is getting my health back for the seven grandchildren I chase around. They may be tougher to chase than any of the 23 players. I’ve always realized how important health is, and that has increased quite a bit in the last year or so. That’s what really matters, and I need to answer that before I consider any other choice or move. But I believe I will make it there.

Wilson’s parting words to Grier:

Just be himself. Then figure out what you know and what you don’t. The smartest people seem to ask the right questions, and he does. He impressed me as a player. In our conversation, when he takes his job, and what he says, he is very methodical, he has a plan. And he asked questions and had a lot of hands-on learning, no doubt about that. It’s in the family. Just the way he played, the way he trained, the way he carried himself, and I think that’s great [standard] For many people.

Wilson, on what he’s comfortable sharing about his health:

I’m in good hands. I think I’m in a better place than I was 10-11 months ago. I should be more patient, I’ve been told. But, it was relevant. But I feel like there is a lot of light at the end of the tunnel.

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