Friday

Carey Wilson

When Carey made his NHL debut as a 21-year old for Calgary in 1984 he had a solid hockey career behind him. After graduating from Dartmouth College he went to Finland where he played two seasons in the Finnish Elite league where he had 72 points in 65 games. He also had represented Canada in the 1982 World Junior Championships (gold), but the highlight until his NHL debut was when he played for Canada in the 1984 Olympics. While there he scored a hat trick in the opening game against the defending champions USA in a 4-2 win.

Carey's father Gerry was the vice-president and team doctor for the WHA Winnipeg Jets, so he was brought up with hockey in his veins.

Carey's debut in the NHL worked out well. He scored in his first NHL game and first shot ever, blasting a 35-foot slapshot past Flyers goalie Bob Froese. His goal helped Calgary beat Philly for the first time in three years. His NHL debut came only days after his Olympic experience, so he only played 15 games during that abbreviated "pre-rookie" season. He also played six playoff games, scoring three goals including an OT winner. But his 21 games still qualified him as a rookie for the next season. He had been drafted by Chicago 67th overall in 1980, but was traded to Calgary for Denis Cyr on November 8, 1982.

In his first full season Carey chipped in with 72 points including 24 goals and 48 assists in 74 games. Only Mario Lemieux had more points as a rookie that year. Lemieux's rookie linemate Warren Young also had 72 points. Carey's 72 rookie points was a franchise record (previously held by Tom Lysiak - 64 pts.). Although Carey finished a distant fifth in the rookie voting, he was Calgary's most effective forward throughout most of the season. Carey in fact maintained the same pace as Mario Lemieux while playing on the same line as Richard Kromm and Colin Patterson. His fine play earned him the rookie of the month honors in October 1984. When both Kromm and Patterson went down with injuries, Carey was shifted to a more checking role, reducing his scoring. He also played on a line with Dan Quinn and Kent Nilsson or Ed Beers and Hakan Loob. Late in the season he was put on a fourth line that became an instant hit among Flames fans. It became dubbed "The Tank Line". Carey played with Gino Cavallini (215 Ibs) and Tim Hunter (205 Ibs).

In 1985-86 the Flames made it all the way to the Stanley Cup finals, upsetting the Edmonton Oilers en route. In the finals the Flames would fall short to the Montreal Canadiens. Wilson was unable to play in the finals due to a ruptured spleen courtesy of a nasty speer by Oilers defenseman Steve Smith, the same Smith who scored on his own net to allow the Flames to escape with the playoff series victory.

Carey was a solid if unspectacular contributor for a deep Calgary team before being traded to Hartford early in 1988. Less than one year later he was shipped to New York, and the Rangers. They traded him back to Hartford in the summer of 1990, but Hartford wasn't his last destination. He got traded once again, but this time back to were it all started...Calgary. It's worth noting that he played very well in both Hartford and New York where he scored a total of 164 points in 197 games.

Back in Calgary he only played parts of three seasons before hanging em' up after the 1992-93 season. Wilson, who was constantly on the injured reserve list for all sorts of ailments, was forced into retirement with torn tendons in his right knee. Carey scored a total of 427 points including 169 goals and 258 assists in 552 regular season games, as well as 24 points including 11 goals in 52 playoff games.

Carey was a very intelligent player who seldom made a bad decision on the ice. He was also very intelligent off the ice, majoring in biochemistry and qualifying as a pre-med student before leaving Dartmouth for a career in hockey. During his off seasons he continued his studies.

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