Doug Wilson steps down after 19 seasons as Sharks GM due to health

doug wilson sharks
Nov 12, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; HHOF inductee Doug Wilson is introduced at a pregame ceremony at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gerry Angus-USA TODAY Sports

Longtime San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson announced on Thursday that he will be officially stepping down to focus on his health. He spent 19 seasons at the helm of the Sharks, the second longest tenure only to Nashville’s David Poile (1997).

Wilson, 64, who has held the role since 2003, has been on leave from the team since November.

“These past 19 years serving as general manager of the San Jose Sharks have been a privilege and one of the most fulfilling and enjoyable periods of my life,” he said in a news release. “I have been incredibly fortunate to work for and with some of the most talented and passionate people in the game of hockey.

Doug Wilson steps down as Sharks GM

During Wilson’s tenure, only the Pittsburgh Penguins (768) and Boston Bruins (762) won more games than the Sharks (760).

“I want to thank Hasso Plattner, along with our previous ownership groups, for the incredible opportunity and the trust they placed in myself and our staff. I want to also thank all of the coaches, players, scouts, trainers and members of the hockey department that I have worked with over these many years for their dedication and commitment to our organization. I want to thank the tremendous fans of the San Jose Sharks franchise. Your enthusiasm and support of this team is unmatched, and I will cherish the shared memories that we have built together over nearly two decades.”

san jose sharks
Dec 2, 2021; Elmont, New York, USA; San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (65) celebrates with San Jose Sharks right wing Timo Meier (28) and San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture (39) after scoring a goal against New York Islanders at UBS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports

San Jose qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs 14 times, including 10 straight appearances from 2004-14.

The Sharks won the Presidents’ Trophy in 2009 and reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2016, losing to Pittsburgh in six games.

A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, Wilson also thanked everyone who has reached out to him during his leave of absence.

“While I have made great progress over the last several months, I feel it is in the best interest of the organization and myself to step down from my current duties and focus on my health and full recovery,” he said. “I look forward to continuing my career in the NHL in the future.”

With 13 games remaining, the Sharks (29-31-9, 67 points) entered Thursday 16 points behind the Dallas Stars for the final wild-card playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Sharks plan extensive search for replacement

The San Jose Sharks are planning an extensive search to find a replacement for Wilson.

“The Sharks’ GM search plans to be extensive, if I had to guess a dozen or so candidates at the outset, varying from former GMs, up and coming AGMs, player agents, former players,” Pierre LeBrun reported.

Interim GM Joe Will has been at the helm since Wilson stepped away to deal with medical issues and can handle responsibilities through the draft and free agency.

–Field Level Media contributed to this article.