Thursday marked the end of an era for the Sharks.
Longtime general manager Doug Wilson announced he was stepping down from the position after 19 years with the organization.
Sharks president Jonathan Becher and interim GM Joe Will spoke to the media following the announcement.
“Obviously this is a sad day and the end of a milestone,” Becher said. “But it’s also a chance to acknowledge and celebrate Doug Wilson’s incredible legacy. That legacy is probably most obvious on the ice. A period of almost 19 years of sustained success.”
In his nearly two decades in the South Bay, Wilson’s impact went beyond the ice as his fingerprints are all over the Sharks and San Jose community.
So what’s next for the Sharks?
Well, Will is going to continue his role as interim GM until a permanent replacement is locked in.
San Jose Sharks
But Becher said they aren’t rushing the process.
“We’re starting immediately a search for the next general manager of the franchise,” Becher told reporters. “At this point, that search is for external candidates. We don't have a defined timeline. We care more about the person than when exactly it happens. If it works out and takes us a small amount of months, that’s great. If it takes a bit longer than that, we’ll wait for the right person.”
While there’s no specific timeframe of when the new hire will join the Sharks, Becher did list specific qualifications for potential candidates.
“Whoever that GM is will build on the incredible legacy that Doug has built over the last 19 years,” Becher said. “Clearly we want to get back to repeatable playoff hockey, that’s the goal of this franchise, that’s what we always want to do. You’ve seen over the season we have some world-class players and some incredible talent in this organization, but openly we do need a few more pieces which will be part of both Joe’s job and the GM as well.”
For Will, who has been Wilson’s second-hand man throughout his 19-year tenure with the Sharks, he will be focused on three things that Wilson put into place throughout the organization.
Resiliency, winning and culture.
“When he came in in 2003, we came off of missing the playoffs that year and in [his] first year, we went straight to the conference finals against Calgary,” Will said. “Another piece of resiliency was after missing the playoffs in‘15, we came back and went to the Stanley Cup Finals the next year in 2016.”
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In the statement he released announcing his departure on Thursday, Wilson said he wants to focus on his health and recovery after taking a medical leave from the organization last November.
“The culture he’s created here, not just a competitive culture but a human culture,” Will said. “A culture of balance with family, health and hockey. And ironically right now that’s at the forefront of his life with just taking care of his health. I can tell you after talking with him he’s making progress. He will be back in the National Hockey League, and that will be on his schedule just after he gets fully healthy. Doug is looking forward to that and that is going to happen.”