Born and raised in the metro Detroit area. Attended De La Salle Collegiate.
From Compuware Midget Major, he was first round draft pick in the 1984 Ontario Hockey League draft to the Kitchener Rangers. Chosen in the first round, 3rd overall, by the New Jersey Devils in the 1985 NHL Entry Draft. Drafted at 17 years and 344 days old. Second youngest defenseman in NHL history to record a game-winner at 18 years, 135 days. Played for New Jersey, Quebec, Colorado, Tampa Bay, and Toronto.
Represented Team USA 4 times in International competition – World Championships 1987, 1991, and 1994. Silver medalist in the 1991 Canada Cup. Wolanin was a member of the Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche in 1996.