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Mighty Migration : Ducks Branching Out During Work Stoppage : Coach Ron Wilson

November 12, 1994|ROBYN NORWOOD

Does this qualify as a trick or a treat? Ron Wilson had a rare encounter with players in full hockey gear Oct. 31. "I was the one handing out the candy, and that rarely happens," said Wilson, who has spent most of his adult life immersed in hockey in the fall. "The really surprising thing to me was how many kids dressed as hockey players. It was kind of neat to see a quarter of the boys dressed as hockey players. And I didn't see anybody dressed as baseball players."

If baseball has gone out of style, hockey might not be far behind if the labor dispute kills the season.

Wilson has enjoyed spending more time with his family, going to college night at school with daughter Kristen, 17, and to the volleyball games of daughter Lauren, 14.

"My whole life has been dominated by hockey from the time I can remember," he said. "For once I'm able to do things this time of year."

But don't imagine he doesn't miss being behind the bench.

"It bothers the hell out of me. This is what I almost feel I was bred to do," said Wilson, whose father and uncle were NHL coaches. "But I'm almost apathetic, to be honest, like a lot of fans. I'll be ready for the season if the season starts. If it doesn't, there's not a suicide watch at my house, I'll tell you that. It's the same philosophy I have in my life. I'm not going to worry about things out of my control. I wish I had some control, but I don't, so I don't worry about it."

Wilson still goes to the office every day, where he is refining computer programs that he and his staff use to keep track of statistics. They'll also watch tapes of players on other teams who will be free agents next year or might be available in trades.

"It is frustrating to sit here and not see movement in the negotiations, people being stubborn about the whole process," he said. "It's like there's got to be a winner. Give me a break. (NHL senior vice president Brian Burke) said it right, it's who's tougher. You read those books about labor shutdowns in other sports, like Marvin Miller's baseball book, the rhetoric is always the same."

The question remains: How many trick-or-treaters will want to be hockey players in 1995?

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