I was going through a box of magazines I’ve hung on to over the years, just to see why, and I came across a Today magazine from 1981. And leafing through the pages, I saw the reason I’d kept this one in particular. Because inside was a feature story on a nine year old kid who was burning up the ice and was going to be the next Wayne Gretzky.
His name was Brian Wiseman, he lived in Bothwell, Ontario, near London, and he was a centreman for the Bothwell Atom All-Stars. He was the definitive can’t-miss kid, a sure bet, and everyone was raving about him. At the time of the article, he had scored 114 goals in 31 games, and the year before, he notched 413 goals in 80 games. Gretzky had only managed a paltry 378 goals as a ten year old in the same amount of games.
The article called him the most sensational, most exciting, most promising hockey player in the country. Fans came from miles around to see him play. Wayne Gretzky said to him, “Brian, get yourself an agent. Fast.” Those whose job it was to know said he’d be big like Howe, Richard, Hull, Orr, and Gretzky. Imagine.
The article tells us about the time Brian’s team whipped Ridgetown 21-2 the previous year and he scored 17 of the goals, how he had just scored eight of his team’s 12 goals in a recent game, that he likes milk and cookies, and course, numerous examples of mean-spirited parents from opposing teams heckling him and all the other headaches a little kid with a big talent shouldn’t have to go through.
After reading this article, I started wondering what might have happened to the young fellow. We know he didn’t become the next Wayne Gretzky, but did he actually have a hockey career, or did he eventually find other interests and quit, as so many kids do?
So I looked him up and here he is. He played three games with the Leafs, scoring no points, and now works for an oil and gas company in Houston, Texas. However, when you look at his numbers below, you see that he had some excellent years at university and in the minors.
|1990-91||U. of Michigan||NCAA||47||25||33||58||58|
|1991-92||U. of Michigan||NCAA||44||27||44||71||76|
|1992-93||U. of Michigan||NCAA||35||13||37||50||40|
|1993-94||U. of Michigan||NCAA||40||19||50||69||44|
|1996-97||St. John’s Maple Leafs||AHL||71||33||62||95||83||7||5||4||9||8|
|1996-97||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||3||0||0||0||0||—||—||—||—||—|