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July 23, 1923|
Craik, Saskatchewan, Canada
April 3, 2008 (aged 84)|
Chandler, Arizona, U.S.
Kenneth Athol Wilson (July 23, 1923 – April 3, 2008), was a minor hockey league General Manager and owner for forty years. He was born in Craik, Saskatchewan. His team spent years in the International Hockey League, five years in the Continental Hockey League and single seasons each in the National Hockey League, Western Hockey League and, Eastern Hockey League. Wilson was known for having a keen eye for young talent as evidenced by his players winning the 'Rookie Awards' a total of seven times.
Wilson played for the Mayfair Public School hockey team in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. In 1937, Mayfair won the J.D. McDonald Cup for Saskatoon public schools Hockey Championship, with Ken playing from the center and left wing positions.
In 1950, Wilson became the Manager of the brand new Hobart Arena, in Troy, Ohio. As Manager of the Hobart Arena, Wilson booked and promoted many of the leading acts of the 1950s, including, the first Ohio venue for Elvis Presley on November 24, 1956, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Nat King Cole, Tex Ritter, Sonja Henie, Victor Borge, Liberace, Guy Lombardo, and Patti Page.
In 1963, Wilson moved to Toledo, Ohio, where he owned and started the Toledo Blades in the IHL. Over the next three seasons, he played the role of a General Manager and as a mid season replacement in 1966, coach. In 1964, the Toledo Blades won the Fred A. Huber Trophy, awarded for "Most Points in the Regular Season' and the Turner Cup awarded to the Playoff Champions.
In 1967 the National Hockey League expanded and Bert Olmstead was hired as General Manager and Coach of Oakland Seals after the June 7, 1967 NHL player draft. Olmstead hired Wilson, with the plan of Wilson running a farm team the following season. The entire hockey staff was fired at the end of the first season.
Wilson was assistant manager of the Muskegon Mohawks in the IHL for two seasons, 1970–1971 and 1971-1972.
In 1972 Wilson was hired as General Manager of the Des Moines, Iowa franchise in the IHL. Feeling the franchise needed a new look and image, Wilson changed the name to the Des Moines Capitols. In 1973-1974, the Capitols won the Fred A. Huber Trophy and the Turner Cup. This was the only season that a Des Moines-based IHL team finished first and won the playoffs. The Capitols disbanded in 1975.
In 1981, Wilson formed a group of investors to put an IHL team in Peoria, Illinois. The Peoria Prancers began play in the 1982-1983 season. After years of good labor relations, the United Auto Workers went on strike against Caterpillar Inc. on October 1, 1982. At the time 50% of Peorians were employed directly or indirectly by Caterpillar. The strike lasted the entire first hockey season. The Prancers were never able to recover from the effects of the strike and folded after the 1983-1984 season.
Wilson moved to Danville, Illinois and took over full-time duties for the Danville Dashers in the Continental Hockey League for the next two seasons. Ken retired from hockey following the 1985-1986 season.
- 1963 - 1964 Toledo Blades Fred A. Huber Trophy Most Points in the Regular Season
- 1963 - 1964 Toledo Blades Turner Cup Playoff Champions
- 1970 - 1971 Muskegon Mohawks Fred A. Huber Trophy Most Points in the Regular Season
- 1971 - 1972 Muskegon Mohawks Fred A. Huber Trophy Most Points in the Regular Season
- 1973 - 1974 Des Moines Capitols Fred A. Huber Trophy Most Points in the Regular Season
- 1973 - 1974 Des Moines Capitols Turner Cup Playoff Champions
- 1981 - 1982 Danville Dashers Most Points Regular Season
- 1981 - 1982 Danville Dashers Wal-Mar Cup Playoff Champions
- 1983 - 1984 Danville Dashers Wal-Mar Cup'Playoff Champions
Rookie of the Year awards
- 1962-1963 Omaha Knights, John Gravel, Rookie of the Year Trophy
- 1963-1964 Toledo Blades, Don Westbrook, Rookie of the Year Trophy
- 1964-1965 Toledo Blades, Bob Thomas, Rookie of the Year Trophy
- 1971-1972 Muskegon Mohawks, Glenn "Chico" Resch, Rookie of the Year Trophy
- 1972-1973 Des Moines Capitols, Danny Gloor, Rookie of the Year Trophy
- 1973-1974 Des Moines Capitols, Frank DeMarco, Rookie of the Year Trophy
- 1982-1983 Peoria Prancers, Paul Fenton, Ken McKenzie Trophy IHL Most Outstanding American Born Rookie
- Dayton Daily News - Ken Wilson Remembers Hobart Arena
- Dayton Daily News - Ken Wilson Remembers Former Player
- Troy Bruins Play Hockey Double Header
- Wilson, GM of Troy Bruins recommends Ken Ullyot for GM of Komets
- Wilson GM Dayton Gems 1976-1977
- New York Times NHL Player Draft June 7, 1967
- Ken Wilson, Peoria Prancers Coach
- Mayfair School History