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“It just adds a little bit to the experience,” Wilson said. “I heard they have a little shrine to him in their dressing room. That would have been nice to see, but growing up I loved him. I was always a small guy too with the skill. It was definitely a great building to have my first game in.”

Wilson is not the first center to come up from Hershey and excel in the short term. First Keith Aucoin and then Mathieu Perreault had fast starts, but both are back with the Bears.

“He made the most of [the opportunity] the first game,” Boudreau said. “But as we all know with young guys - and I know from way too much personal experience - you have to keep it going, keep it going until the upper management says, ‘Hey, this guy can play.’ ”