SAN JOSE – The Sharks reacted with compassion and encouragement on Friday night to the announcement that General Manager Doug Wilson would be taking temporary medical leave from the team.
Wilson, 64, is at home with his family and friends in Scottsdale, Arizona. Doctors have advised rest for Wilson, who has been battling persistent cough for at least the last two months and is not sleeping well. Wilson’s condition is not believed to be related to COVID-19.
The team announced the Sharks Friday afternoon before playing the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Sap Center. San Jose lost the game 4–1 in the fourth and final game of their homestand.
Sharks captain Logan Couture did not want to raise questions about Wilson, instead leading his postgame news conference with a brief statement that said on behalf of the team, “We respect his privacy. We respect his privacy. Love him and we are gonna miss him.Every guy in that (locker) room owes a lot and we hope he gets well and he’ll be here soon.
Sharks’ assistant GM is handling the duties of Will Wilson, Sharks said.
“We’re just thinking about him. We want him to get better,” Sharks coach Bob Boffner said of Wilson. “He’s dealing with his thing there and the most important thing is health. In this sport there is not much time to relax and try to get better. I think it’s cool that he’s taking some time off and thinking about his health, and I can’t wait to see him back.
The Sharks will play the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center next Sunday. Wilson, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on November 15, was to be recognized by the Blackhawks during a televised time out.
Wilson played 14 seasons for the Blackhawks from 1977 to 1991 and remained the franchise leader among defensemen in assists (554) and points (779).
After Sunday, the Sharks’ next visit to Chicago is on April 14 and Wilson is expected to be honored at that time.
Shark defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, 34, has known Wilson for almost half his life. Vlasic was drafted by Wilson in 2005 and played his 1,100th game with the Sharks on Friday.
“I wish him well and wish his family all the best,” Vlasik said. “He is with his family, so I wish everyone well.”