The St. Louis Blues lost an alumnus Friday as former defenseman Rik Wilson passed away.
The native of Long Beach, California was 53. The cause of death is unknown.
“The St. Louis Blues and the Blues Alumni organization are deeply saddened by the passing of Rik Wilson,” the team said in a statement. “Rik donned the Blue Note with pride and passion during five of his six NHL seasons. He was a valued member of not only the Blues organization but the St. Louis community, where Rik and his family settled following his retirement. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Wilson family during this difficult time.”
Selected with the 12th overall pick in the 1980 draft, Wilson made his debut with the Blues in 1981-82, recording three goals and a career-high 18 assists in 48 games. He spent 3 1/2 more seasons with St. Louis, scoring a personal-best eight goals in 1984-85, before being sent to Calgary on February 1, 1986 in a six-player deal that featured Joey Mullen going to the Flames.
Wilson appeared in only two games with Calgary before being assigned to Moncton of the American Hockey League. Just over a month after being acquired, he was sent packing as the Flames traded him to the Chicago Blackhawks for Tom McMurchy on March 11.
Chicago immediately assigned Wilson to Nova Scotia of the AHL, where he also spent the entire 1986-87 campaign before being moved to Saginaw of the International Hockey League. The 6-foot, 180-pounder finally saw action with the Blackhawks in 1987-88, notching four goals and five assists in 14 games.
He played the next season in Austria before re-signing with the Blues, only to be released after appearing in only 15 games with their IHL affiliate in Peoria. He spent the next 3 1/2 campaigns bouncing around between the AHL, IHL and several European teams before trading in his skates for rollerblades as he played for the St. Louis Vipers of Roller Hockey International from 1993-96.
Wilson collected 25 goals, 65 assists and 220 penalty minutes in 251 career regular-season games with the Blues, Flames and Blackhawks. He also recorded four assists in 22 playoff contests with St. Louis.