December 29, 1926 – November 5, 2015
It is with great sadness that the family announces the passing of Delbert Wilson. Del is survived by his Sister in Law, Mae Wilson, Doreen Wilson, Shirley Wilson, and Marilyn Wilson, and numerous nephews and nieces.
Born in Craik, Saskatchewan, Del Wilson has been a fixture with the Regina Pats hockey club, boasting a twenty-five year career with junior hockey in Regina and a lifetime of dedication as a builder in Western Canada.
Del began his hockey career as a goaltender with the Regina Abbotts in 1945 and the Regina Pats from 1946 to 1947. He moved into the administrative side of the sport when he began coaching the Regina Pats Minor Hockey teams in 1948; coaching Bantam, Midget, Juvenile, and Junior B teams simultaneously until 1965, amassing an impressive thirty-five provincial and three international titles. Del would later assume the role of General Manager of the Regina Pats from 1956-1968, while scouting Western Canada for the National Hockey League (NHL) Montreal Canadiens, a position he would hold for forty-seven years.
Wilson was a driving force in establishing both the Western Canada Junior Hockey League (WCJHL) in 1966 and the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League in 1973. In 1970, Wilson along with Jim Piggott and Ed Chynoweth, led the WHL into a partnership with Ontario and Quebec, and today there are over fifty Major Junior teams in the three leagues.
Wilson led a group of investors to purchase the Pats in 1970, and once again served as general manager and president of the club, positions he held for another six seasons. He led an All-Star Team to a gold medal in Edmonton in 1967 against a Russian team in the Labatt Cup; and the Pats to a silver medal at the Ahearne Cup in Sweden in 1973. In 1974, Del enjoyed one of his greatest highlights when the team he had built and managed captured the Western Hockey League (WHL) Championship and won the Memorial Cup.
Del left the Pats in 1980 and continued to make his mark in hockey at the national level, serving as chairman of the board of the WHL for six years, including one year as president as well as chairman of the board of the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League. He was Referee-in-Chief of the WHL from 1980 to 1982, and retired after 46 years, as a scout for the Montreal Canadiens in 1995.
For his contributions to the sport of hockey, Del Wilson received the WHL Board of Governors Award in 2005. The Del Wilson Trophy, awarded annually to the top goaltender of the Western Hockey League, was named in his honor.
Del retired from the Canadians in 1995 having served 47 years with Montreal as a scout. During his employment the Canadians won 18 Stanley Cups.
Del was Installed in the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame and Museum on June 19th, 2010.
Along with his hockey Del had a passion for golf. Del started playing golf in 1948. He played on the Willington Cup Team in 1953, 55, 56, and 57. He won the Saskatchewan Amateur Champion in 1957. Del was the President of the Saskatchewan Golf Association in 1957. He became a golf professional in 1959 at the Craig golf course in Regina and he later became the pro at the Murry golf course in 1962 where he remained until 1976. In 2014 Del received recognition for 50 years of service in the Canadian PGA.
Del moved to Campbell River in 1989 and retired in 1995. Del spent his retirement traveling, fishing and golfing. Del played most of his Golf at Sequoia Springs where he won the club championship several years. Del thru the late 2000’s he would shoot his age or better. Del made three hole in ones over his life.
Donations in his memory may be made to the WHL Scholarship Fund.
There will be a Celebration of Life at the Sequoia Spring Golf Course on Saturday, July 23, 2016 from 4:00-5:30pm. Please bring your memories of Del and join us for refreshments.