As the Sarnia Sting finishes up its best regular season in franchise history, one of the team’s most loyal fans is running up a record of her own.
Greta Wilson has watched almost every single game the Sting has played since coming to Sarnia in 1994.
“I’ve missed only one, and it was due to weather,” said the self-confessed ‘rink rat,’ who is keen for the playoffs to start next week.
After a glorious regular season filled with many team and personal records, local hockey fans have their eye on more than Sarnia winning its first playoff series since 2008. They’re pumped for a serious run at the franchise’s first ever OHL Championship.
And none are more excited than Wilson.
Her friends know that when the Sting are playing you don’t bother calling. She’s either at the rink in person or watching away games on TV. Armed with a notepad, she charts each shift, recording goals, assists, penalties and shots on net.
“It’s an automatic thing,” she said. “I absolutely absorb the games.”
Wilson raised two children — a hockey-playing son and a daughter who figure-skated. But now that they’re grown, the former Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce membership director treats the hockey team like her own, even referring to the players as her ‘boys.”
Wilson received season tickets as a gift when the OHL franchise relocated to Sarnia from Cornwall 24 years ago. Since then, she’s continued to watch home games from roughly the same section, six rows behind the Sting bench.
She knows many of the players and their families personally, and her seat at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena provides perspective on coach-player interaction.
“Those young kids are so fortunate to have two NHLers to learn from,” she said, referring to head coach Derian Hatcher, and assistant David Legwand, both retired NHL veterans.
“I think we’ve had a good track record of kids going to the NHL. They’ve got the experience and the know-how from the coaches.”
Wilson is hopeful Sarnia will finally overcome a history of playoff futility and go on a long playoff this spring. But win or lose, she will remain one of the team’s staunchest defenders.
“My uncle Roy always said, no matter whether they’re at the top or the bottom, you support the team.”