Wilkinson battles back from bottle

December 27, 1990|By Gary Olson | Gary Olson,Knight-Ridder News Service

ST.PAUL,MINN. — ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Neil Wilkinson is living a dream. It wasn't long ago that he was dreaming his life.

Neil Wilkinson, 24-year-old Minnesota North Stars defenseman, is an alcoholic.

"I woke up one day two seasons ago and didn't want to go to practice," Wilkinson said. "I was too hung over. I didn't feel good. I didn't go. It's the only time I've ever missed practice, and I felt guilty.

"I made up some story to tell the coach [John Marks]. He knew I was lying, and I knew I was lying. He asked me why a player with my talent couldn't make his team. I didn't have an answer."

Wilkinson found a friend in Bill Goldsworthy,the North Stars first star, a man who used to look for his answers in a bottle,too.

"Goldy showed me the answer I didn't find it'Wilkinson said, Heknew the lies.

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