At this year’s Penguins Alumni Charity Golf Classic, the players’ minds were on their old friend and teammate Mitch Wilson
, who was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) just last month.
Wilson spent a number of years in the Penguins organization, playing for Pittsburgh in 1986-87 and for several of their minor-league affiliates as well. Two-time Stanley Cup champion and Penguins Radio Network color analyst Phil Bourque was teammates with Wilson for many of those seasons.
“Playing in the minors as I did for a lot of my career, I had the pleasure – it really was a pleasure – to play with Mitch Wilson,” Bourque said. “I’ll be honest with you – pound for pound, there’s been some tough hombres come through the National Hockey League and play pro hockey. This guy is as tough as they come and to hear what he’s going through, I find myself all day long thinking about him and what he’s doing.”
So Bourque decided to do something about it. After finishing his 18 holes for charity at the Valley Brook Country Club on Tuesday afternoon, Bourque and two more Penguins alumni – Mark Kachowski and Warren Young – all did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in Wilson’s honor (read more about the movement here).
“When somebody needs a little bit of support, you stop what you’re doing and help out your buddy,” Bourque said. “Whether you played one game with him or you played 100 games with him, to take time out and show a guy like that support, it’s going to mean a lot.”
In turn, the three of them challenged the New Jersey Devils, as Wilson also played for that organization before coming to the Penguins. And they didn’t just challenge those players to dump buckets of ice water over their heads – they challenged them to donate to Wilson personally, as they plan to do so themselves.
That’s something the Penguins Foundation will be doing as well, as president Dave Soltesz announced that the Penguins will donate $10,000 to the GoFundMe account Wilson created in an effort to raise money to assist in his future care.
For more on Wilson and his fight against this terrible disease, check out NHL.com’s story.