The Family Cup : Wilson Wants to Share a Special Place With His Father


When things are going well--and sometimes especially when they aren’t--Mighty Duck Coach Ron Wilson closes his eyes with one image in his mind.

“All I can picture is that all I want to do is hold up the Stanley Cup,” he said.

“I want my name on the Cup because my dad’s name is on it. My dad’s gone, but his name’s still on the Cup. I want my name to be right there too, so my kids can say, ‘There’s my dad.’ Whenever the Cup’s around, my kids want immediately to see their grandfather’s name on the Stanley Cup.”

Larry Wilson played for the 1950 Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings, and later coached the Red Wings. At home, Ron has the replica of the Stanley Cup bowl the team gave to the players that season. His brothers have Larry Wilson’s Stanley Cup rings--the one he won as a player and two he was given as coach of the Red Wings’ minor league team.


“There are three rings. I’ve got three brothers,” Wilson said. “The only way I’m getting a Stanley Cup ring is to win one. Or shoot one of my brothers. Or steal one, which is a possibility.”

But the Cup itself, Wilson said, is “the holy grail.”

“You only get so many opportunities to do it. I’ve seen my friends hold the Stanley Cup. That really gets me emotional, to see someone lift it. . . . You watch that thing on TV, and the look on their face when they hold it up. That is heaven, to be holding up the Stanley Cup,” Wilson said.

Wilson remembers first touching the Cup when he was 17, when Montreal beat Chicago in 1971. His father had friends on the Canadiens, and the Wilsons visited the dressing room after the seventh game.

“I got to hold the Stanley Cup with my dad. He showed me his name,” Wilson said. “We didn’t even think to get a picture.”

The pictures remain in his mind.

“Every year, somebody takes almost the same picture. They’re holding up the Stanley Cup, and you don’t see any heads, just hands, reaching up to touch the Cup. It’s almost a holy thing, a religious experience.”