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Lightning Hire Rick Wilson to Serve as Associate Coach

by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning have agreed to terms on a multi-year contract with Rick Wilson, naming him associate coach today, Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Lawton announced.  He will be looked upon to coach and groom the team’s defensive corps.

“I am happy to be joining Rick Tocchet and the staff in Tampa because I see the makings of a pretty good team, with some good young players including Stamkos and Hedman combining with Stanley Cup champions like Lecavalier and St. Louis. After extensive talks with Brian (Lawton) and Rick (Tocchet), I feel we can do some good things with the defense there and I look forward to being part of building something special over time like we did in Dallas.”
- New Lightning Associate Coach Rick Wilson

“I am very pleased that Brian and Rick were able to work out a deal to bring Rick to Tampa Bay. His resume as a defensive coach is impeccable; he has worked for many years and coached in big games and big situations, including the Stanley Cup Finals. He makes our staff better, he will make me a better head coach and I am very excited about having him lead a group of young defensemen that we want to see grow together for the next several years.”
- Lightning Head Coach Rick Tocchet

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  • “With 20 years of NHL coaching experience, we believe Rick is exactly what this club needs as an associate coach and we are excited that he has elected to join our staff,” said Lawton upon making the announcement. “As our team develops, we will look to control the game from the blue line; Rick shares that philosophy, understands that concept and will teach our young defensemen to do just that. Additionally, his past relationships ensure he will fit seamlessly with head coach Rick Tocchet, assistant Wes Walz and goaltending coach Cap Raeder to give us a very cohesive staff which can lead our team to long-term success.”

    Wilson, a native of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, has spent the previous 16 seasons with the Dallas Stars, winning the Stanley Cup in 1999 working along side head coach Ken Hitchcock.  During his tenure with the Stars, Wilson helped lead the team to seven division titles, two Western Conference championships and two President’s Trophies.  He had most recently served as associate coach for the previous six seasons, focusing on the team’s defense and penalty kill.  Under Wilson’s guidance the Stars finished in the top three for fewest goals against in the NHL during the 2007-08, 2006-07, 2003-04 and 2002-03 seasons.

    Before being named associate coach, Wilson held the position of assistant coach with the Stars for 10 seasons, joining the club for the 1992-93 campaign. He served as interim head coach for 32 games during the 2001-02 campaign, leading the Stars to a 13-11-7-1 record to close out the season.

    Prior to joining Dallas, Wilson worked as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Kings for three seasons from 1989-92. With the Kings Wilson worked with Raeder, serving as co-coaches for 15 games in 1990-91. Wilson joined the Kings from the New York Islanders, where he served as an assistant coach for the 1988-89 season.  He also served as an assistant for Canada’s National Junior Team that year.

    Wilson spent eight seasons from 1980-88 with the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL (SJHL from 1980-82) before joining the professional ranks. He served as an assistant coach for six seasons from 1980-86, winning the 1985 Memorial Cup Championship, before being named head coach and general manager prior to the 1986-87 season.  In two seasons as the head coach with the Raiders, Wilson posted an 86-50-8 record.

    Wilson began his coaching career as an assistant at his alma mater, the University of North Dakota, where the Fighting Sioux won the 1980 NCAA Division I Championship and two WCHA crowns during his two years there. While he was a student he played hockey and football, earning his degree in education.

    Drafted by Montreal in the 1970 NHL Amateur Draft, Wilson spent four seasons (1973-77) in the NHL as a defenseman for Montreal, St. Louis and Detroit. During his NHL career he amassed six goals and 32 points in 239 games.
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