As the 2013 preseason inches ever closer, today the number 24 comes into focus. For the most part, 24 has been the refuge of third line defenseman and role playing forwards like Michel Petit, Stanislav Neckar, Danton Cole, Darryl Shannon and the current wearer Kyle Chipchura. The honor of being the best to wear #24 was no different. He wore it first and he wore it the longest. He is Ron Wilson.
Wilson was originally drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the 13th round of the 1976 Amateur Draft but would never play for the Canadiens until the final year of his career. Instead, Les Habitants traded Wilson to the NHL newcomer Jets in October of 1979 for cash considerations. Given a new start, Wilson excelled right away scoring 21 goals along with 36 assists for a total of 57 points in 79 games as a rookie. All three of those marks would represent career highs. The following year, Wilson would show up strong again with 18 G, 33 A and 51 points in 77 games, but after that season, Wilson would spend the next few years shuffling between Winnipeg and their various minor league affiliates. Over the course of 9 seasons as a member of the Jets, Wilson played in 536 games while scoring 75 goals with 134 assists for a total of 209 points.
After his playing days were over, Wilson would go on to become a coach, joining the AHL's Springfield Falcons as an assistant in the '96 season. After 4 years there, he journeyed to Saint Johns to join current Coyote assistant Jim Playfair's staff. He currently is an assistant coach for the Canadiens AHL affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs. He is not however, the Ron Wilson who formerly coached the Anaheim Ducks and Toronto Maple Leafs.
While Wilson never donned the Sedona Red of the Coyotes, he is the player who wore 24 the longest and the best for the franchise. So congratulations to you Ron Wilson, you are the greatest number 24 in Coyotes franchise history.