Lester Patrick

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Lester Patrick
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1947
Lester Patrick.jpg
Born (1883-12-30)December 30, 1883
Drummondville, QC, CAN
Died June 1, 1960(1960-06-01) (aged 76)
Victoria, BC, CAN
Height 6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Weight 180 lb (82 kg; 12 st 12 lb)
Position Defence
Shot Left
Played for New York Rangers (NHL)
Victoria Cougars (WCHL)
Victoria Aristocrats (PCHA)
Seattle Metropolitans (PCHA)
Spokane Canaries (PCHA)
Renfrew Creamery Kings (NHA)
Edmonton Pros (Exhib)
Montreal Wanderers (ECAHA)
Brandon Hockey Club (NWHL)
Playing career 1904–1928

Curtis Lester "Les, The Silver Fox" Patrick (December 30, 1883 – June 1, 1960) was a professional ice hockey player and coach associated with the Victoria Aristocrats/Cougars of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (Western Hockey League after 1924), and the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League (NHL). Along with his brother, Frank, he created the Pacific Coast Hockey Association and helped develop several rules for the game of hockey.[not verified in body] Patrick is credited for introducing the red forward line on professional hockey rinks. He won six Stanley Cups: in 1906 and 1907 while with the Montreal Wanderers (Captain), in 1925 with the Victoria Cougars (Owner/President/Manager/Coach), and with the New York Rangers in 1928 (playing-Manager/Coach), 1933 (Manager/Coach), and 1940 (Manager).

Early career[edit]

Lester Patrick was a great rover and defenceman who first came to prominence in 1900 when he played for McGill University. In 1904, he was the star for the Brandon team in the Northwestern and Manitoba Hockey Leagues and became the first defenceman known to score a goal. With Patrick at cover point, Brandon challenged the Ottawa Senators for the Stanley Cup in that season, but were defeated in the two-game, total-goal series.[1]

He had greater success with the famed Montreal Wanderers in the 1906 and 1907 seasons. Scoring 41 goals as a rushing defenceman in just 28 scheduled games while serving as captain of the Redbands, Patrick led them to the Stanley Cup in both seasons. He followed that up by being signed as a high-priced free agent by the Renfrew Creamery Kings in the National Hockey Association's first year of operation, by which time Patrick was recognized as one of hockey's great stars.[2]

Women's ice hockey[edit]

By 1910, the entire Patrick family would have an impact on the Nelson, British Columbia Ladies Hockey Club. Sisters Myrtle, Cynda and Dora Patrick were all involved with the club. In 1911, the Nelson Ladies Club was coached by Lester Patrick, and Dora was the captain.[3]

Pacific Coast Hockey Association[edit]

The Patricks long had western ties—their father Joe was a major lumber entrepreneur in British Columbia — and in 1911 Lester and his brother Frank had their greatest gamble: the formation of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association, backed with Patrick lumber money. Luring away many eastern stars, the PCHA from the start was a prominent force in hockey, and for 15 years it would contest (along with the Western Canada Hockey League in the early 1920s) the Stanley Cup with its eastern rivals, the NHA and the National Hockey League.[4]

Lester himself was the captain and star of the Victoria Aristocrats, winning First Team All-Star accolades three of the five seasons he played for them. The franchise — plagued by small crowds — was moved to Spokane, Washington and became the Spokane Canaries in 1916, and Patrick achieved his fourth and final First Team All-Star berth. After that season the Canaries were disbanded, and Patrick joined the Stanley Cup champion Seattle Metropolitans.[4]

The Aristocrats were revived in 1918 as the Victoria Cougars, and Patrick took over as player-manager. Despite playing in only about half the games, he was named to the Second All-Star team once more before retiring as a player after the 1922 season.[4]

New York Rangers[edit]

Lester Patrick serving as goaltender

Patrick is famous for an incident which occurred during the Stanley Cup finals of 1928. At the age of 44 years, 3 months, 9 days, while serving as coach and general manager of the Rangers, Patrick inserted himself into the April 8 playoff game to play goal against the Montreal Maroons, when starting goaltender Lorne Chabot suffered an eye injury after being hit by the puck in the second period. This is a record for the oldest goalie to play in the Stanley Cup Finals that still stands today. At the time it was not common for teams to have a backup goaltender, and the opposing team's coach had to allow a substitute goaltender. However the Maroon's manager-coach Eddie Gerard refused to give permission for the Rangers to use Alec Connell, the Ottawa Senator's star netminder who was in the stands, as well as minor-leaguer Hugh McCormick. Odie Cleghorn, the then-coach of the Pittsburgh Pirates, stood in for Patrick as coach for the remainder of the game, and directed the Rangers to check fiercely at mid-ice which limited the Maroon players to long harmless shots. Patrick saved 18 to 19 shots while allowing one goal in helping the Rangers to an overtime victory.[5] For the next three games, the league gave permission for the Rangers to use Joe Miller from the New York Americans in goal. The Rangers went on to win the Stanley Cup.[6][1]

Patrick also guided the Rangers to another championship in 1933.[7]

He resigned as coach in 1939 for his one-time great center Frank Boucher, and Patrick was again a Stanley Cup-winning general manager when Boucher led the Rangers to their last Cup for 54 years in 1940.

Patrick finally retired as general manager in 1946, but stayed on as vice president of Madison Square Garden, finally exiting in 1950.[8]

Retirement[edit]

Patrick donated a trophy to the Western Hockey League, the Lester Patrick Cup, to go to the playoff champions of that league, and the trophy now resides in the Hockey Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1947.[9]

Already dying of cancer, Lester died at his Victoria home of a heart attack on June 1, 1960, at the age of 76.[10] Exactly four weeks later, he was followed by his brother Frank, 75. Frank's death was also attributed to a heart attack.

Legacy[edit]

The Lester Patrick Trophy, awarded for outstanding contributions to hockey in the United States, is named for him. He was also the namesake of the Patrick Division, one of the former divisions of the NHL teams.[8]

The Patricks have been dubbed "Hockey's Royal Family." Lester himself was the father of Lynn Patrick and the grandfather of Craig Patrick, both of whom are themselves Honoured Members of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Another son, Muzz Patrick, was a star player and eventually coach and general manager of the Rangers. Lester's grandson Glenn Patrick played in the NHL during parts of the 1970s while another grandson, Dick Patrick (Muzz's son) has been president of the Washington Capitals since 1982 (he is also a minority owner).[11]

The 1932–33 Stanley Cup champion New York Rangers team picture autographed by Lester Patrick (Standing, 6th from left) (Private Collection)

Coaching record[edit]

Team Year Regular season Post season
G W L T Pts Division rank Result
NYR 1926–27 44 25 13 6 56 1st in American Lost in semi-finals
NYR 1927–28 44 19 16 9 47 2nd in American Won Stanley Cup
NYR 1928–29 44 21 13 10 52 2nd in American Lost in Stanley Cup Finals
NYR 1929–30 44 17 17 10 44 3rd in American Lost in semi-finals
NYR 1930–31 44 19 16 9 47 3rd in American Lost in semi-finals
NYR 1931–32 48 23 17 8 53 1st in American Lost in Stanley Cup Finals
NYR 1932–33 48 23 17 8 53 3rd in American Won Stanley Cup
NYR 1933–34 48 21 19 8 50 3rd in American Lost in quarter-finals
NYR 1934–35 48 22 20 6 50 3rd in American Lost in semi-finals
NYR 1935–36 48 19 17 12 50 4th in American DNQ
NYR 1936–37 48 19 20 9 47 3rd in American Lost in Stanley Cup Finals
NYR 1937–38 48 27 15 6 60 2nd in American Lost in quarter-finals
NYR 1938–39 48 26 16 6 58 2nd in NHL Lost in semi-finals
Total 604 281 216 107 669

See also[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ Whitehead 1983, p. 24
  2. ^ Whitehead 1983, p. 5
  3. ^ Norton 2009, p. 35
  4. ^ a b c "Pacific Coast Hockey Association History". hockeylegend.com. 2010. Retrieved April 17, 2010. 
  5. ^ Rangers defeated Maroons, but Lost Goalie for Series The Montreal Gazette — April 9, 1928, page16. Retrieved 2010-08-16
  6. ^ "The Day The Coach Played Goalie". CNN. April 3, 1961. 
  7. ^ Whitehead 1983, p. 180
  8. ^ a b "Lester Patrick Trophy". National Hockey League. 2010. Retrieved April 17, 2010. 
  9. ^ Whitehead 1983, p. 238
  10. ^ Mancuso & Petterson 2007, p. 55
  11. ^ Whitehead 1983
References
  • Fischler, Stan (1976). Those Were The Days: The Lore of Hockey by the Legends of the Game. New York, NY: Dodd, Mead & Company. ISBN 0-396-07015-9. 
  • Mancuso, Jim; Petterson, Scott (2007). Hockey in Portland (2007 ed.). Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0-7385-4804-9.  - Total pages: 128
  • Norton, Wayne (2009). Women on Ice: The Early Years of Women's Hockey in Western Canada (2009 ed.). Ronsdale Press. ISBN 1-55380-073-7.  - Total pages: 180
  • Whitehead, Eric (1983). The Patricks: Hockey's Royal Family (1983 ed.). Formac Publishing Company. ISBN 0-88780-103-X.  - Total pages: 280

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Position created
Head coach of the New York Rangers
192639
Succeeded by
Frank Boucher
Preceded by
Conn Smythe
General Manager of the New York Rangers
192646
Succeeded by
Frank Boucher