From 1961 through 1975, Jim Wilcox used his determination, will and physical skills to become one of only a handful of Midlanders to play for such a period of time at one of hockey’s highest levels.
Although he would never taste the heady champagne of the real National Hockey League, this distinguished graduate of the town’s Little NHL made a name for himself at every stage. As a member of the 1953 Midland Bruins, he was part of the storied team that won the Canadian Little NHL bantam championship.
The 5-foot-ll, 190-pound defenceman translated that foundation and a thirst for excellence into a place on the roster of the Major Junior A Toronto Marlboros of the Ontario Hockey League before graduating to the pro ranks.
The International Hockey Database notes Wilcox’s arrival with the San Francisco Seals of the Western Hockey League in the 1961-’62 season where he played 62 games. He moved to the Springfield Indians of the American Hockey League for the next two seasons. Future stops would include Portland and San Diego of the Western Hockey League,Fort Wayne of the International Hockey League, and Johnstown of the North AmericanHockey League.
(Hockey fans will note that the fictitious Charlestown Chiefs in the Paul Newman movie, Slapshot, were modelled on the Johnstown Jets. No doubt Wilcox has some tales to tell about the infamous Carlson brothers!)
In the 1965-’66 season, he played 33 regular-season games and 11 playoff games with Tulsa of the Central Professional Hockey League. His individual best was 41 points in 71 regular-season games with Johnstown in 1973-’74. He played 12 playoff games that season as well.
A true all-round athlete, Wilcox also played third base for the famous Midland Indians