A perennial image on the sports scene of Thunder Bay (Port Arthur) for over 40 years, Gordon 'Phat' Wilson enjoyed one of the most successful amateur hockey careers in our area's illustrious hockey history.
Born in Port Arthur in 1895, Wilson got his first taste of hockey in the local church leagues. Not even knowing how to skate when he tried out for St. Andrew's in 1914, he mastered not only the blades, but the stick as well, moving on to the Port Arthur Senior club in 1918, and the Iroquois Falls of the N.O.H.A. League for the 1921-22 season.
It was during that season that Wilson got his first taste of the Allan Cup play downs, losing out on the Dominion title to the Toronto Granites. Returning home to the Port Arthur Seniors the next season, Wilson began work on claiming the Allan Cup for his hometown. His hard work and dedication paid off in spades, going on to captain Port Arthur to the area's first Allan Cup title in 1924-25 and repeating the feat in 1926 and again in 1929.
A brilliant defenseman remembered for his rink-long rushes, Wilson won several scoring titles throughout his career, including the Thunder Bay Senior Hockey Championship Scoring title in his last three years as an active player. Not surprisingly, Wilson was offered many professional contracts. However, he turned them all down. Given that he was, in fact, 30 years of age when he captained the Seniors to their first Allan Cop victory, his accomplishments were made that much more incredible. Retiring from active competition in 1933 at the age of 37 years as a playing coach, Wilson went on to coach Port Arthur again in 1938 and 1940.
As well as being an outstanding hockey player, Wilson was also a stand-out baseball player. In 1952 when Little League baseball reached our area, Wilson served as the first President of the Port Arthur National League and later, when Fort William entered the League, he became the first Little League District Commissioner for the area.
Not surprisingly, Gordon 'Phat' Wilson's incredible athletic abilities did not go unnoticed on the national scene. In 1962, he received one of the highest honours ever afforded to a hockey player; entry into the Sports Hall of Fame, one of the very few amateurs ever to do so.
Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 25, 1982