Ex-Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson recovering from stroke
Former NHL player, 61, in rehab, according to L.A. Times
Friends say former Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson is recovering from a recent stroke, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.
The 61-year-old last coached at the 2016 world junior hockey championship, guiding the United States to a bronze medal in Finland.
Wilson posted a 130-135-45 record behind the Maple Leafs bench from 2008-12. The Windsor, Ont.-born and Rhode Island-raised Wilson was fired in March 2012.
Ex-<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Leafs?src=hash">#Leafs</a> coach Ron Wilson emailed me saying he's "working hard" in rehab after his stroke and should be home for Christmas. Sounds good.—@Berger_BYTES
The original coach of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in the 1993-94 season, Wilson also had stints with Washington, San Jose and then Toronto, compiling a 648-561-91 mark.
Former Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke, who didn't hire Wilson in Toronto – interim GM Cliff Fletcher brought him aboard – remained loyal to his college roommate until a 1-9-1 skid sent the team spiralling in the standings and five points out of a playoff spot with 18 games left.
The best finish Wilson could muster was a 10th-place standing in the Eastern Conference in the 2010-11 campaign.
From Day 1, he took a combative stance with the media, bringing his Canadian passport to the introductory news conference because he was sensitive to stories hailing him as the franchise's first American coach.
He also said "Bring it on" when asked about the scrutiny to come.
Less than three months before his firing, Wilson signed a contract extension and announced it on his Twitter feed Christmas morning.
Wilson also coached the U.S. at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, where Sidney Crosby's golden goal lifted Canada to victory in overtime. He did lead the Americans to a win over Canada at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey.
Wilson broke into the NHL as a player with Toronto in 1977 and played parts of three seasons with the Leafs before joining in the Minnesota North Stars. He ended his career in the 1987-88 campaign, finishing with 26 goals and 93 points in 177 regular-season contests.
With files from The Canadian Press