Lester Patrick

Curtis Lester Patrick (December 31, 1883 – June 1, 1960) was a Canadian 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 Patrick and father Joseph Patrick, he founded the Pacific Coast Hockey Association and helped develop several rules for the game of hockey.[1] Patrick won the Stanley Cup six times as a player, coach and manager.

Lester Patrick
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1947
Lester Patrick.jpg
Patrick in 1917–18, with the Seattle Metropolitans
Born (1883-12-31)December 31, 1883
Drummondville, Quebec, Canada
Died June 1, 1960(1960-06-01) (aged 76)
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
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 Wheat City (NWHL)
Playing career 1904–1928

Early careerEdit

The son of a wealthy lumberman, 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.[2]

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.[3]

Women's ice hockeyEdit

By 1910 the entire Patrick family would affect 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, and Dora was the captain.[4]

In the 1920s the Patrick family ran the Vancouver Amazons hockey team, owned by Frank Patrick and managed by Guy Patrick.

Pacific Coast Hockey AssociationEdit

The Patricks long had western ties. Their father Joe was a major lumber entrepreneur in British Columbia — and in 1911 he, Lester and his brother Frank had their greatest gamble, the formation of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association, backed with money from the sale of the family business. 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.[5]

Patrick and his brother Frank invented 22 new rules that remain in the NHL rulebook to this day. They introduced the blue line, the forward pass, and the playoff system, a change adopted by other leagues and sports around the world. After a suggestion by their father Joe, they began using numbers on players' sweaters and in programs to help fans identify the skaters. A new rule allowed the puck to be kicked everywhere but into the net, and allowed goaltenders to fall to the ice to make a save. They were responsible for crediting assists when a goal was scored, and invented the penalty shot.[1]

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.[6]

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.[5] Remaining with the Cougars as head coach, Patrick became the last non-NHL coach to win the Stanley Cup in 1925.

New York RangersEdit

 
Lester Patrick serving as goaltender

The western circuit only survived one more year after the Cougars' Stanley Cup triumph. When the WCHL collapsed in 1926, the Cougars' roster was sold en bloc to an NHL expansion team that ultimately became the Detroit Red Wings. However, Patrick snubbed the new Detroit franchise and instead became the head coach and general manager of another expansion team, the New York Rangers. He played one regular season game for the team, on March 20, 1927, serving as a substitute defenceman against the New York Americans.[7]

He is famous for an incident which occurred on April 7, 1928, during Game 2 of the 1928 Stanley Cup Finals against the Montreal Maroons. After starting goaltender Lorne Chabot suffered an eye injury after being hit by the puck in the middle of the second period, Patrick inserted himself into the game as the Rangers' new netminder, offering his now-teammates the words "Boys, don't let an old man down." At the age of 44 years, 99 days, Patrick remains the oldest man to have played in the Stanley Cup Finals. 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, Maroons manager-coach Eddie Gerard refused to give permission for the Rangers to use Alec Connell, the Ottawa Senators' 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.[8] 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, their first in franchise history.[9][10]

Patrick also guided the Rangers to another championship in 1933.[11] 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 retired as general manager in 1946, but stayed on as vice president of Madison Square Garden, finally exiting in 1950.[12]

Later lifeEdit

The championships trophy of the Western Hockey League, the Lester Patrick Cup, was renamed after Patrick upon his death in 1960.[13] He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1947.[14]

Patrick developed lung cancer, and his health quickly deteriorated. He died in Victoria after a heart attack on June 1, 1960, aged 76.[15] Exactly four weeks later, he was followed by his brother Frank, 74. Frank's death was also attributed to a heart attack.[16]

LegacyEdit

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.[12] The division included the Rangers for its entire history and (except for the 1980–81 season immediately after the Atlanta Flames relocated to Calgary) consisted of only American teams.

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).

Awards and achievementsEdit

  • Stanley Cup champion (6): 1906, 1907 as a player; 1925, 1928, 1933, 1940 as an owner/manager/coach

Career statisticsEdit

Regular season and playoffsEdit

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1903–04 Brandon HC MNWHA 12 4 2 6
1903–04 Brandon HC St-Cup 2 0 0 0 0
1904–05 Montreal Westmount CAHL 8 4 0 4
1905–06 Montreal Wanderers ECAHA 9 17 0 17 26 2 3 0 3 3
1906–07 Montreal Wanderers ECAHA 9 11 0 11 11
1906–07 Montreal Wanderers St-Cup 6 10 0 10 32
1907–08 Nelson Seniors BCHL 2 1 0 1
1908–09 Edmonton HC Exhib 1 1 0 1 3
1908–09 Nelson Pros Exhib 2 4 0 4 3
1908–09 Edmonton HC St-Cup 2 1 1 2 3
1909–10 Renfrew Creamery Kings NHA 12 24 0 24 25
1911–12 Victoria Senators PCHA 16 10 0 10 9
1912–13 Victoria Senators PCHA 15 14 5 19 12
1913–14 Victoria Aristocrats PCHA 9 5 5 10 0
1913–14 Victoria Aristocrats St-Cup 3 2 0 2
1914–15 Victoria Aristocrats PCHA 17 12 5 17 15
1915–16 Victoria Aristocrats PCHA 18 13 11 24 27
1916–17 Spokane Canaries PCHA 23 10 11 21 15
1917–18 Seattle Metropolitans PCHA 17 2 8 10 15 2 0 1 1 0
1918–19 Victoria Aristocrats PCHA 9 2 5 7 0
1919–20 Victoria Aristocrats PCHA 11 2 2 4 3
1920–21 Victoria Aristocrats PCHA 5 2 3 5 13
1921–22 Victoria Aristocrats PCHA 2 0 0 0 0
1925–26 Victoria Cougars WHL 23 5 8 13 20 2 0 0 0 2
1926–27 New York Rangers NHL 1 0 0 0 2
1927–28 New York Rangers NHL 1 0 0 0 0
PCHA totals 142 72 55 127 109 2 0 1 1 0
NHL totals 1 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 0
St-Cup totals 13 13 1 14

Coaching recordEdit

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GC W L T Finish GC W L T Result
1926–27 New York Rangers NHL 44 25 13 6 1st, American 2 0 1 1 Lost in Semi-Final
1927–28 New York Rangers NHL 44 19 16 9 2nd, American 9 5 3 1 Won Stanley Cup
1928–29 New York Rangers NHL 44 21 13 10 2nd, American 6 3 2 1 Lost in Final
1929–30 New York Rangers NHL 44 17 17 10 3rd, American 4 1 2 1 Lost Semi-Final
1930–31 New York Rangers NHL 44 19 16 9 3rd, American 4 2 2 0 Lost in Semi-Final
1931–32 New York Rangers NHL 48 23 17 8 1st, American 7 3 4 Lost in Final
1932–33 New York Rangers NHL 48 23 17 8 3rd, American 8 6 1 1 Won Stanley Cup
1933–34 New York Rangers NHL 48 21 19 8 3rd, American 2 0 1 1 Lost in Quarter-Final
1934–35 New York Rangers NHL 48 22 20 6 3rd, American 4 1 1 2 Lost in Semi-Final
1935–36 New York Rangers NHL 48 19 17 12 4th, American
1936–37 New York Rangers NHL 48 19 20 9 3rd, American 9 6 3 Lost in Final
1937–38 New York Rangers NHL 48 27 15 6 2nd, American 3 1 2 Lost in Quarter-Final
1938–39 New York Rangers NHL 48 26 16 6 2nd, NHL 7 3 4 Lost in Semi-Final
NHL totals 604 281 216 107 65 31 26 8 Two Stanley Cups

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Frank Patrick – Biography Hockey Hall of Fame (legendsofhockey.net). Retrieved October 25, 2020.
  2. ^ Whitehead 1980, p. 24
  3. ^ Whitehead 1980, p. 5
  4. ^ Norton 2009, p. 35
  5. ^ a b "Pacific Coast Hockey Association History". hockeylegend.com. 2010. Retrieved April 17, 2010.
  6. ^ MacLeod 2021, p. 97
  7. ^ The Montreal Gazette 1927, p. 16.
  8. ^ Rangers defeated Maroons, but Lost Goalie for Series The Gazette (Montreal) — April 9, 1928, page16. Retrieved August 16, 2010
  9. ^ "The Day The Coach Played Goalie". CNN. April 3, 1961.
  10. ^ "ESPN.com - Page2 - Biggest Stanley Cup playoff chokes".
  11. ^ Whitehead 1980, p. 180
  12. ^ a b "Lester Patrick Trophy". National Hockey League. 2010. Archived from the original on January 9, 2010. Retrieved April 17, 2010.
  13. ^ Stott 2008, pp. 105–106
  14. ^ Whitehead 1980, p. 238
  15. ^ Whitehead 1980, p. 251
  16. ^ Whitehead 1980, p. 252

BibliographyEdit

  • Bowlsby, Craig H. (2012), Empire of Ice: The Rise and Fall of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association, 1911–1926, Vancouver: Knights of Winter, ISBN 978-0-9691705-6-3
  • Cosentino, Frank (1990), The Renfrew Millionaires: The Valley Boys of Winter 1910, Burnstown, Ontario: General Store Publishing House, ISBN 0-919431-35-6
  • 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
  • Holzman, Morey; Nieforth, Joseph (2002), Deceptions and Doublecross: How the NHL Conquered Hockey, Toronto: Dundurn Press, ISBN 1-55002-413-2
  • Jenish, D'Arcy (2013), The NHL Centennial History: 100 Years of On-Ice Action & Boardroom Battles, Toronto: Doubleday Canada, ISBN 978-0-385-67146-0
  • MacLeod, Alan Livingstone (2021), Capitals, Aristocrats, and Cougars: Victoria's Hockey Professionals, 1911–1926, Victoria: Heritage House, ISBN 978-1-77203-373-1
  • Norton, Wayne (2009), Women on Ice: The Early Years of Women's Hockey in Western Canada, Ronsdale Press, ISBN 978-1-55380-073-6
  • Ross, J. Andrew (2015), Joining the Clubs: The Business of the National Hockey League to 1945, Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, ISBN 978-0-8156-3383-9
  • Stott, Jon C. (2008), Ice Warriors: The Pacific Coast/Western Hockey League 1948–1974, Surrey, British Columbia: Heritage House Publishing, ISBN 978-1-894974-54-7
  • "Rangers won, 2-1: Lester Patrick Figured in Victory Over Americans", The Montreal Gazette, Montreal, March 21, 1927
  • Whitehead, Eric (1980), The Patricks: Hockey's Royal Family, New York City: Doubleday, ISBN 0-385-15662-6
  • Zweig, Eric (2015), Art Ross: The Hockey Legend Who Built the Bruins, Dundurn Press, ISBN 978-1-4597-3040-3

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Position created
Head coach of the New York Rangers
192639
Succeeded by
Preceded by General Manager of the New York Rangers
192646
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of the New York Rangers
1932–34
Succeeded by