Colin Wilson was selected 7th overall by the Nashville Predators in the first round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Wilson spent two years with the United States Developmental Team before joining Boston University for another two seasons. His father, Carey Wilson, played for three NHL teams over 10 seasons and his grandfather, Jerry Wilson, played three games for the Montreal Canadiens in 1956-57 and eventually became the team doctor for the Winnipeg Jets.
“I played my first ever hockey game when I was about four years old back in Winnipeg, Manitoba,” said Nashville Predators forward Colin Wilson. “ The only thing I really remember from back then is my very first dangle. I remember putting the puck through somebody’s legs and being really excited on my way home.”
A third generation professional hockey player, Wilson doesn’t remember his parents missing any one of his games as a kid, but something he’ll never forget are the rides home from the rink with his dad. “Depending on the game my ride home with my dad was always interesting. If it was a rural game and I played badly it would feel like it was a two-hour ride home when it was only actually 45 minutes,” recalled Wilson. “My dad would have the clip board with the rink on the back and he’d be going over plays while my mom drove. I took it all in and it made me a better player and since then I’ve been able to deal with coaches being hard on me because of it.”
Like so many youngsters in Canada, Wilson honed his hockey skills on a backyard pond rink built by his father. “As soon as I was home from school I was out to the backyard pond behind my house,” said the dual Canadian and American citizen. “It was a big pond with a lot of houses on it so my dad made a path from the house to the pond where I could work on my puckhandling.”
Born while his father was playing in New York City, Wilson adopted the Rangers as his team as a kid. “My favourite player growing up was Jaromir Jagr,” said Wilson. “If I was born a couple years earlier or later I probably would’ve grown up a Calgary Flames fan because that’s where my dad was playing at the time.” The Predators rookie actually didn’t watch a lot of NHL hockey as a kid, but every year I would really get into a tournament over the Christmas break. “I was really into the World Juniors. I remember my parents would let me come home from school early just so I could watch games,” said Wilson. “Then I got to play in it and I know everybody says it’s very surreal, but it is. In your very first game you can’t believe you made it to this level.”
When asked to recall a memorable minor hockey experience, Wilson flashes back to his bantam year. “I remember we went to a tournament in Price Albert,” said Wilson. There were a lot of top teams there and I remember Angelo Esposito was there and Kyle Turris was there and Luke Schenn was in it and I remember all of them. We ended up going to the finals and I scored the OT goal which was really exciting. “
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Colin Wilson and Ian Cole (R) of the USA celebrate their team's first goal against Slovakia during first period action during the playoff round quarterfinals of the 2009 World Junior Championship in Ottawa.
Photograph by: Jean Levac, The Ottawa Citizen, The Ottawa Citizen