Monday, December 19, 2011
At the age of 17, Behn Wilson, born on this date in 1958, showed his unquestioned toughness with 131 penalty minutes in 63 games for the 1975-76 Ottawa 67's of the QMJHL. He played a half a season with the 67's in 1976-77 before moving to the Windsor Spitfires. His combined points that season while playing defense was an impressive 57 in 48 games. He also made his professional hockey debut with the Kalamazoo Wings of the IHL where he scored 9 points in 13 games and racked up 40 penalty minutes in just 13 games as the 18 year old was tested by the older players in the IHL.
It was back to junior hockey for Wilson in 1977-78 with the Kingston Canadiens where he finished second on the club in scoring with 18 goals and 76 points plus 186 penalty minutes in 52 games. That caught the attention of the Philadelphia Flyers, who were always on the lookout for toughness and grit, especia , lly from someone who could contribute offensively. Following the season the Flyers made Wilson the #6 overall pick in the 1978 NHL Amateur Draft.
He stepped straight into the Flyers lineup in 1978-79, leading all Flyers defensemen in scoring with 49 points (10 more than any other) as well as leading the team in penalty minutes, no easy task for a rookie on a club with noted tough guys Mel Bridgeman and Paul Holmgren!
Wilson would top 200 penalty minutes for the first time the following season with 212. The Flyers finished first overall in the league with 116 points and advanced through the playoffs to reach the Stanley Cup Finals. Back then, all 16 playoff qualifiers were seeded 1 to 16 without regard for divisions or even conferences, which allowed Philadelphia, the winners of the Patrick Division to face geographic neighbors and fellow Patrick Division rivals the New York Islanders, who prevailed in six games to begin their Stanley Cup dynasty.
Wilson set career highs in 1980-81 with 47 assists and 63 points as well as 237 penalty minutes. He also was a +39 for the year and earned a spot in the 1981 NHL All-Star Game.
Wilson played two more injury shortened seasons with the Flyers, thanks in part to his rugged, all out style, before being traded to the Chicago Black Hawks for the 1983-84 season. He played three seasons for the Black Hawks, with a high of 185 penalty minutes in 1984-85 and 50 points in 1985-86 before being forced to miss the entire 1986-87 season with a back injury.
Wilson in 1980-81 while wearing the Flyers infamous long pants
He would return to Chicago in 1987-88 and score 29 points in 58 games and record 166 penalty minutes. He would be claimed by the Vancouver Canucks in the 1988 Waiver Draft, but a reoccurrence of his back problems prevented him from ever playing again and he would formally retire after the 1988-89 season at the age of 29 with career totals of 601 games played, 98 goals and 260 assists for 358 points as well as his 1,480 penalty minutes, which included leading the Black Hawks in 1984.
Wilson following a scrap while with the Black Hawks
Today's featured jersey is a 1981-82 Philadelphia Flyers Behn Wilson jersey. This jersey is notably short in length, perhaps due in part to being worn with the CCM Pro Guard full-length hockey pants, more commonly referred to as "Cooperalls", despite not being the Cooper version of the long pants.
This jersey is from the third generation of Flyers jerseys, nearly identical to their original 1967-68 sweaters, only with the addition of wider arm striping which allowed the sleeve numbers to be contained entirely within the colored area, unlike the narrower first version which saw the sleeve numbers break out of the stripe.
What differentiates this third generation of jersey from the second is the absence of any waist striping which came with the adaptation of the "Cooperalls". This was the only season for this particular style jersey, as it was replaced by a modernized version of the jersey the following year.
Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1983-84 Philadelphia Flyers Behn Wilson jersey which illustrates the evolution in style of the Flyers jersey. This is the second season for the new, modernized jersey which saw the addition of black trim which separated the body color from the sleeve color as the Flyers had now reverted back to the standard, short hockey pants. Additionally there was now trim above the black sleeve cuffs.
This second season is distinguished from the 1982-83 season by the straight section of of the shoulder yoke above the name on the back, where the previous season's jersey saw the sleeve striping on the back start at the collar and arch continuously downward. This long-lived style remained in use until 2007 with the arrival of the Reebok Edge jerseys.
Today's extra bonus jersey is a 1983-84 Chicago Black Hawks Behn Wilson jersey. This classic Black Hawks jersey has Wilson's first initial "B" on the back as Behn was teammates with long time Black Hawk Doug Wilson, necessitating the first initials to differentiate the two, something that is falling by the wayside as the different numbers worn by the players are now often considered sufficient.
Behn went with #23 while with the Black Hawks as his previous #3 worn in Philadelphia was already in use by Dave Feamster upon his arrival in Chicago.
Today's video section begins with Wilson having a furious battle with the New York Islanders Clark Gilles. followed by another with John Wensink of the Boston Bruins.