|During the early 1980s the Admirals had one of the most potent offenses in IHL history, which could make it easy to overlook a shutdown defenseman like Kevin Willison. Willison is one of only three IHL players to be named the league’s most outstanding defensemen in consecutive seasons. |
Willison came to Milwaukee in 1981 after being drafted in the fifth round by the St. Louis Blues. He finished the season putting up 51 points in 73 games. Although Willison had an impressive season by most defensemen standards it was his next two seasons that he really shined.
The season in which he earned his first title as most outstanding defensemen came during the 1982-1983 campaign as Willison polished his game and became a dominate defender as the Admirals team Captain. Willison matched his point totals from the season before, but stepped up his presence on-ice as he garnered the nickname “Mr. Blueline” from a local sports writer because of his ability to stop opponents before entering their offensive zone.
Willison’s second time earning the league’s top defensive award came during the 1983-84 season, his most impressive as an Admiral and of his professional career. During this season he led IHL D-men in scoring with 73 points off of 21 goals and 52 assists. His point total was also an Admirals team record for points in a season by a blueliner.
Following the end of his third season with Milwaukee Willison left the Admirals organization to play with the Muskegon Lumberjacks during the 1984-85 season.
Willison came back to Milwaukee for the 1985-86 season, to finish his Admirals career and his career as a professional hockey player.
When all was said and done Willison finished as arguably the best defenseman to come through Milwaukee. He is the Admirals all-time leading scorer for a defensemen totaling 213 points in his career. He is also only one of three Admirals to have won the trophy for most outstanding defensemen in the league, and the only one to have won it twice.
After retiring from play Willison was hired to guide his former team during the 1987-88 season. Today Willison is the head coach of the Alverni Bulldogs of the British Columbia Hockey League.