Get to know Ron Wilson

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:39 AM ET

In honour of the 27th coach in Maple Leafs history, here are 27 things you may not know about Ron Wilson:

1. During his time as a player with the Leafs from 1977-79, Wilson convinced teammates such as Dan Maloney and Tiger Williams to take the GO Train in from Mississauga for games. "You could have a nap at the top. No one bothered us. You couldn't do that today." Wilson admits that "in my little time here it wasn't as insane as it is now."

2. In his games room at home hangs his No. 14 Leafs jersey, which he admits he stole when he left Toronto. Next to it is an autographed photo of Dave Keon, also wearing a No. 14 Leafs sweater.

3. Became "friends" the past few years with Paul Maurice, the man he replaces behind the Leafs bench.

4. Knows former Leafs general manager John Ferguson relatively well because Ferguson, like Wilson, is an alumnus of Providence College.

5. Watched a lot of Leafs games during his stint with San Jose "because I love listening to Joe Bowen ... and Bob Cole. As a hockey fan, they make the games exciting."

6. Believes that Evgeni Nabokov, his goalie with the Sharks last season, will win the Vezina Trophy tomorrow night at the NHL's annual awards.

7. Plans on sitting down with forward Mark Bell to "talk about where he's at" during an upcoming trip to San Jose.

8. Recently received a message from Patrick Marleau, thanking him. "He said he would play for me any where, any time." The two men were at loggerheads during the 2007 playoffs, a period in which Wilson admits he "overreacted."

9. What is the only question he hasn't been asked in the past 48 hours? "What's Brian Burke's shoe size? ... And I couldn't tell you that. I could guess his waist size or hat size but that's about it."

10. Roomed primarily with Lanny McDonald and Williams with the Leafs. "I was kind of shocked at Tiger's street smarts."

11. Decked out in a hoody and sunglasses, he was walking down the street during a visit by the struggling Leafs to San Jose in January when he spotted a beleaguered Maurice. "I said, 'Geez Paul, you look like a guy who could use a good hug.' So I gave him a big hug on the street. He thought I was crazy."

12. Got a message from ex-Tampa Bay Lightning coach John Tortorella, saying "congratulations" on landing the Leafs job.

13. Admits being "intimidated" upon seeing former teammate Darryl Sittler in the Leafs offices yesterday. Why? Because when they played together in Toronto in the 1970s "he was the captain and I was just a college punk."

14. Calls the late (Badger) Bob Johnson "the most positive person I have ever met. Doug Wilson would be a close second."

15. Has the Hockey Night in Canada Theme, which was recently purchased by Sportsnet/CTV, as the ring tone on his phone.

16. Believes the Western Conference is better than the East right now because of superior goaltending and better defencemen.

17. Is a self-proclaimed computer fanatic. "My whole life is on my computer. Every game I've coached, every game plan."

18. When Wayne Primeau, Brad Stuart and Marco Sturm were informed they had been traded to Boston by San Jose, Wilson did not tell them it was for Joe Thornton. "I let (GM) Doug Wilson tell them. I was in the corner with a smile on my face."

19. Is the son of Larry Wilson, and nephew of Johnny Wilson, both of whom won Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings.

20. Looks forward to life in the East because of the less-rigorous travel, which allows for more time for practising. "It's so much easier to coach in the East ... it's ridiculous."

21. Claims to have never made a player cry.

22. Once got Thornton to sign a puck for his new-born granddaughter. Admits he cried when she was born.

23. Will find out what a player's favourite song is, then will put together a highlight package for the player accompanied by that very tune.

24. Is a huge Will Ferrell fan. "Maybe that should be Mike Myers now."

25. Loves watching movies. "You never know when you can pick up a line from them that might motivate a player."

26. Claims Vesa Toskala, whom he coached in San Jose, loves hot dogs. "I think he's had too many hot dogs," Wilson joked.

27. When his first-grade school teacher started e-mailing him saying, "You don't remember me," Wilson had the perfect response. "I e-mailed her the class picture and circled her."


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