Saturday

Dunc Wilson

Dunc was as many other goalies considered to be a little odd. He never seemed to be bothered by anything. Defeat not only rested lightly on his shoulders. Often, it didn't rest there at all. He was always loved by the media because he could always be counted on to deliver the mandatory quote from the loser's dressing room with a smile, and usually it was funny. This attitude was of course not very popular among the coaches and might be one of the reasons why he played for 3 junior clubs in 5 seasons and 5 NHL clubs in 10 seasons.

Dunc was born in Toronto and played for Oshawa, Niagara Falls and Peterborough as a junior. He was claimed by Philadelphia from Boston in a special internal amateur draft. He made his NHL debut for Philadelphia during the 1969-70 season appearing in only one game. He spend the rest of the time playing for the Quebec Aces of the AHL.

The Vancouver Canucks claimed Dunc in the 1970 expansion draft. Dunc spend the next three seasons in Vancouver, a place that he really liked. He loved go fishing in the Pacific and mingle around with local celebrities, especially in the music business.

But Dunc could not find a good barber in Vancouver. He had shoulder length hair, which didn't suit Canucks coach Hal Laycoe at all. Dunc later said that the coach didn't rate him by his ability to stop pucks but judged him on the hair and what he was doing off the ice. Several teammates agreed with Dunc.

The writing was on the wall and soon Dunc got traded to Toronto for Larry McIntyre and Murray Heatley on May 29, 1973. In Toronto he had to share the duties with veterans Eddie Johnston and Doug Favell. The three-goalie system didn't give any of the goalies enough ice time, but Dunc played well during the 24 games, recording a 2.79 GAA.

It didn't take long before a rift developed between the coach, Hall of Famer Red Kelly and his goalie. Kelly even bought Dunc a tie to wear on road trips to conform to a club edict. Dunc ditched the Kelly neckwear and wore one of his own - a boot-lace western style model to match his plaid shirt.

The final blow was when Toronto went on a west coast road trip where they were trashed by Los Angeles 8-0 and California 6-1. Some of the guys had a "first-class" team party between the games and when the team were on their way to Vancouver to conclude the road trip, Dunc was asked if he expected a large contingent of fans at the airport to welcome him back.

" I doubt it," he smiled. "But the boys from the North Vancouver booze store undoubtedly will call."

On top of that Dunc missed a curfew, and when Toronto returned from the road trip he was suspended. The NY Rangers eventually claimed him on waivers.

Dunc played a total of 23 games for the Rangers until it was time to move again. Dunc admitted that he hadn't changed that much. "I can't go around being serious all the time and looking down in the dumps at the appropriate times," he said. "I still live the same. I still like rock music, my family, cracking a jar occasionally and having a few laughs."

Dunc was traded to Pittsburgh at the start of the 1976-77 season and had a splendid season, posting a 2.73 GAA in 45 games. It was probably the comeback of the year. Yet, as always, Dunc lasted one more season before Pittsburgh shipped him back to Vancouver where he first had established himself.

Even though Dunc was happy to be back in Vancouver he only played 17 games in the 1978-79 season. It was his last season and he retired 31-years old. Dunc appeared in a total of 287 NHL games, with a career 3.74 GAA.

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