Ron Wilson is taking his bronze medal and heading to the golf course, uncertain if he wants to parlay his 2016 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships experience into more work.
Would Wilson, who had previously coached Team USA to World Cup gold and Olympic silver, come back to the guide the American world junior team in 2017?
“I don’t want to do this again, I don’t think,” Wilson told reporters Tuesday after USA’s 8-2 win over Sweden, via the Toronto Star.
“I don’t see myself coming back. I wanted to do it once. I wanted to see what it was like to coach at this level, and I did. We won a bronze. It’s not gold, but it’s still something.”
The 60-year-old Wilson was last seen behind the Toronto Maple Leafs‘ bench. He was fired in March 2012, leaving the NHL with a record of 648-561-101.
“Sometimes I had my doubts there after my Toronto experience. I was getting criticized from all sides. You learn to trust yourself. That’s what I did, I trusted myself and we were rewarded,” Wilson said.
The coach, who holds dual American-Canadian citizenship, made headlines in the tournament for criticizing the media pressure put on Team Canada’s teens and admitting he did zero research on Russia’s players before they eliminated his squad in Monday’s semifinal.
“I think that stuff has a big ability to backfire, and certainly now that puts him in a tough spot to explain based on the outcome yesterday,” Leafs assistant GM Kyle Dubas told Sportsnet The Fan 590.
Yet American star Auston Matthews said the players all appreciated Wilson’s style of guidance.
“He was really laid back. He was really honest with everybody. He doesn’t yell a lot. It was different from what most people kind of expected,” Matthews told reporters in Helsinki. “It was really nice to have him as a coach.”
It’s been nearly four years since Wilson last stood behind an NHL bench. If offered, he would entertain a return.
“But I’m not hoping for anything,” Wilson said. “I just wanted to get something done in this tournament.”