TORONTO — Ron Wilson made no assurances that he will take the Toronto Maple Leafs back to the glory days of 1967, the last time the franchise won the Stanley Cup, but he expects his new NHL club to be knocking on destiny's door in two seasons.
Wilson, who grew up rooting for the Leafs, was drafted by Toronto and played 64 games for the Leafs in the late 1970s, was introduced as the 27th head coach in club history after signing a four-year contract worth $6-million yesterday.
He takes over a team that was left in a sad state of affairs by the general manager-coach tandem of John Ferguson and Paul Maurice. The Leafs missed the playoffs three seasons in a row, but Wilson was not disheartened by the task that lies ahead.
"We may have to take a step back in order to go ahead," said Wilson, who grew up in Fort Erie, Ont. "But I want to make this team better. I'm not going to say it will be 1967 all over again, but don't forget a few years ago when Pat Quinn was here, this team was close to going all the way.