Offensive-minded defenseman Wilcox leads GBN charge to the United Center

By Ross Forman

Statistics don’t tell the whole story of Glenbrook North senior defenseman David Wilcox, who has 10 goals, 15 assists in his first 26 games this season as the Spartans carried a 21-4-1 record into their Rivalry Night against Glenbrook South on Nov. 21.

“To begin with, David Wilcox is a magnificent skater,” said GBN head coach Evan Poulakidas, in his 19th season coaching locally, his eighth in charge of the Spartans. “He has blazing speed and unique agility. He protects the puck as well as any player I have coached. He is a type of player that does not come along very often, a tremendous defender and threat offensively to score at all times.”

Wilcox is, without question, one of the main reasons Glenbrook North is a top contender to be skating next March at the United Center. Throw in such talented teammates as Matt Dahlke (20 goals, 8 assists), Casey Miller (11,12), Mikey Day (10, 11) and Brayden Roy (8,13), and this could be a Scholastic League championship team, too.

Wilcox is, admittedly, “excited” for the next few months, which includes a Dec. 15 rematch against the Trevians in Northbrook. The Spartans have a solid core of returning skaters, with as much team speed as any.

Defense and goaltending is rock solid too, as the Spartans are anchored on goalie Brennan Nein (14-3 record, 1.42 goals-against average).

The Spartans have “shown a tremendous amount of improvement so far,” this season, Wilcox said.

The Spartans blanked New Trier Blue 5-0 on Oct. 17, then defeated that same Blue team 4-0 on Nov. 15.  In between the Blue games, GBN went 8-1 with four shutouts.

Wilcox wants to skate at the United Center, period.

“I think about it almost every day; it would be a dream-come-true to get to play there this year,” he said. “We came one goal away from getting there last year and that still haunts me to this day and I won’t be satisfied until we get there.”

Willy, as he is known to his teammates, is in his third varsity season. He is a right-handed shooting senior who stands 6-feet tall and weighs 160-pounds.

Wilcox, who lives in Northbrook, is still undecided on his college plans for next fall, as he also is considering junior options.

Wilcox has a “very high hockey IQ, to go along with his natural leadership qualities,” Poulakidas said. “In simplest terms, I am glad he is a Spartan.”

Wilcox learned to skate at age 3 – with the help of plastic golf balls and clubs. “Every lesson, I would grab them and head right next to the boards and use them as a hockey stick and puck,” he said. “I started out playing little 3v3 games (in) Glenview and we would rotate playing goalie each shift. (I) don’t know if that counts as a real game, otherwise (my first-ever game was as) a mite house league (player).”

Wilcox has long shined in the Spartans’ green and gold, and when representing Illinois in the 2018 America’s Showcase, held last April in the St. Louis area. Wilcox was among 20 selected for the Showcase from 120 of the best high school players in Illinois who were invited to tryout. In addition, Wilcox was picked to the Illinois Fall Showcase team, which played Sept. 20-23 in Blaine, Minnesota.

“It’s been a great experience (skating for GBN) as this program takes hockey to a new level with passion and commitment,” Wilcox said. “I’ve had a ton of fun playing with my best friends throughout the years and being able to represent my school.”

His hockey highlights include playing in the annual GBN/GBS Rivalry Night Game, played the day before Thanksgiving in Glenview, and being named All-State, among other accolades.

“I try to motivate my teammates to work hard and keep each other accountable,” he said. “I’m a bit of an offensive defensemen as I tend to rush the puck up the ice and give our team as many scoring chances as I can.”

Slapshots With … Glenbrook North’s David Wilcox

Favorite NHL Team: Pittsburgh Penguins
Favorite NHL Player: Sidney Crosby
Favorite Sport (other than hockey): Lacrosse
Favorite Pro Athlete: LeBron James
Favorite app: Hulu
Favorite TV Show: How I Met Your Mother
Favorite Sports Movie: Miracle On Ice
Hardest Slapshot on GBN (excluding yourself): Evan Izenstark
Most Accurate Shot on GBN (excluding yourself): Michael Day
Fastest Skater on GBN (excluding yourself): Tim Burke
Teammate Who, Someday, Would Make A Great Coach: Jonathan Ovnanyan
Best High School Jersey (other than GBN): New Trier Green’s alternate jerseys
Worst High School Jersey: Glenbrook South
Jersey Number: 8 – “I’ve been wearing No. 8 for almost my entire life in all sports, (including) baseball, basketball, hockey and lacrosse. I was born in August, which is the eighth month of the year, which is why I first selected it when I was about 7 years-old, and I’ve loved it ever since.”
Hockey Influences: “My parents and coaches throughout all my years.”
Most Memorable Game: “Winning the Northern Illinois Hockey League championship as a second-year bantam. It was my last opportunity to win it for the first time as a Northbrook Bluehawk (player).”
Most Memorable Goal: “Scoring the game-winning goal in game 3 of the SHL playoffs last year against Glenbrook South.”

Ross Forman has written about Illinois high school hockey for more than 15 years and is the only sportswriter to have covered Illinois High School hockey every year during that stretch. He played locally and then at Indiana University before becoming a referee. Ross was a referee for the State Championship game several years ago at the United Center. Contact Ross by email at

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