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.

8 comments:

Bill 9:16 PM  

Hey Dunc good luck with your new career in the skating world, cheers from the Whithouse. A Kokanee for good luck?renwor

Anonymous,  8:34 AM  

I was at a Ranger game in the mid 70's, and good old Dunc was in goal. After giving up a couple of soft goals, the Garden crowd started booing and razzing Dunc like mad. Dunc took off his mask, laid his stick on top of the goal, and skated back and forth behind the goal giving the fans the finger. It was hilarious!

Anonymous,  11:51 PM  

Dunc may have slowed down a little but he still has the magic touch around the greens!
KS

austin@austinhowe.com 10:42 PM  

This guy was awesome and a great ambassador for the game. I was his neighbor in Vancouver and he once accepted my family's dinner invitation which was one of the highlights of my 13 years of life to that point (who does that?!). I also had the opportunity to be coached by Dunc at hockey school, and watch him play lacrosse for the Vancouver Burrards. I was always the wide-eyed adoring student and fan, he was always the accessible, colorful, salt-of-the-earth good human being and role model. I ran into him at the "decadent team party" at Circus Circus in Nevada and he gave me a bucket of quarters to play the slots. Oh, and he was a pretty talented goalie as well. Love that guy.

Anonymous,  7:17 PM  

still have the game goalie stick he gave me back in 71, it was agaist the Habs...we lost 5-2

Brian Kent 6:30 PM  

Hey Dunc,
Good to see you always remained the same. I still remember the drinks at the Spruce Villa in Whitby after the games. Never change old friend.

BK

Anonymous,  5:20 PM  

I was fortunate to meet the man when I was on vacation in Utila a few years back. He is a super nice guy who awed me with his stories from his NHL experience.

Anonymous,  4:07 AM  

Does anyone know where I can contact Dunc? goleafsgo64@gmail.com

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