Lester Patrick

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

Curtis Lester "Les, The Silver Fox" 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 six Stanley Cups as a player, coach and manager.

Early career

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 hockey

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]

Pacific Coast Hockey Association

The Patricks long had western ties. Their father Joe was a major lumber entrepreneur in British Columbia β€” 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 β€” plagued by small crowds β€” 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.[5]

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]

New York Rangers

Lester Patrick serving as goaltender

In 1926, Patrick became the head coach and general manager of the National Hockey League's New York Rangers. 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.[6] 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.[7][8]

Patrick also guided the Rangers to another championship in 1933.[9] 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.[10]

Later life

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.[11]

Suffering from cancer, Lester died at his Victoria home after a heart attack on June 1, 1960, at the age of 76.[12] Exactly four weeks later, he was followed by his brother Frank, 74. Frank's death was also attributed to a heart attack.


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.[10]

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).[13]

Awards and achievements

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

Career statistics

Regular season and playoffs

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 β€” β€” β€” β€” β€” β€”
1903–04 Brandon HC St-Cup β€” β€” β€” β€” β€” 2 0 0 0 0
1904–05 Montreal Westmount CAHL 8 4 0 4 β€” β€” β€” β€” β€” β€”
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 β€” β€” β€” β€” β€”
1906–07 Montreal Wanderers St-Cup β€” β€” β€” β€” β€” 6 10 0 10 32
1907–08 Nelson Seniors BCHL β€” β€” β€” β€” β€” 2 1 0 1 β€”
1908–09 Edmonton HC Exhib. 1 1 0 1 3 β€” β€” β€” β€” β€”
1908–09 Nelson Pros Exhib. 2 4 0 4 3 β€” β€” β€” β€” β€”
1908–09 Edmonton HC St-Cup β€” β€” β€” β€” β€” 2 1 1 2 3
1909–10 Renfrew Creamery Kings NHA 12 24 0 24 25 β€” β€” β€” β€” β€”
1911–12 Victoria Senators PCHA 16 10 0 10 9 β€” β€” β€” β€” β€”
1912–13 Victoria Senators PCHA 15 14 5 19 12 β€” β€” β€” β€” β€”
1913–14 Victoria Aristocrats PCHA 9 5 5 10 0 β€” β€” β€” β€” β€”
1913–14 Victoria Aristocrats St-Cup β€” β€” β€” β€” β€” 3 2 0 2 β€”
1914–15 Victoria Aristocrats PCHA 17 12 5 17 15 β€” β€” β€” β€” β€”
1915–16 Victoria Aristocrats PCHA 18 13 11 24 27 β€” β€” β€” β€” β€”
1916–17 Spokane Canaries PCHA 23 10 11 21 15 β€” β€” β€” β€” β€”
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 β€” β€” β€” β€” β€”
1919–20 Victoria Aristocrats PCHA 11 2 2 4 3 β€” β€” β€” β€” β€”
1920–21 Victoria Aristocrats PCHA 5 2 3 5 13 β€” β€” β€” β€” β€”
1921–22 Victoria Aristocrats PCHA 2 0 0 0 0 β€” β€” β€” β€” β€”
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 β€” β€” β€” β€” β€”
1927–28 New York Rangers NHL β€” β€” β€” β€” β€” 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 β€” β€” β€” β€” β€” 13 13 1 14 β€”

Coaching record

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


  1. ^ a b Frank Patrick – Biography Hockey Hall of Fame (legendsofhockey.net). Retrieved 2020-10-25.
  2. ^ Whitehead 1983, p. 24
  3. ^ Whitehead 1983, p. 5
  4. ^ Norton 2009, p. 35
  5. ^ a b c "Pacific Coast Hockey Association History". hockeylegend.com. 2010. Retrieved April 17, 2010.
  6. ^ Rangers defeated Maroons, but Lost Goalie for Series The Gazette (Montreal) β€” April 9, 1928, page16. Retrieved 2010-08-16
  7. ^ "The Day The Coach Played Goalie". CNN. April 3, 1961.
  8. ^ http://espn.go.com/page2/s/list/chokes/hockey.html
  9. ^ Whitehead 1983, p. 180
  10. ^ a b "Lester Patrick Trophy". National Hockey League. 2010. Archived from the original on January 9, 2010. Retrieved April 17, 2010.
  11. ^ Whitehead 1983, p. 238
  12. ^ Mancuso & Petterson 2007, p. 55
  13. ^ Whitehead 1983

External links

Preceded by
Position created
Head coach of the New York Rangers
Succeeded by
Frank Boucher
Preceded by
Conn Smythe
General Manager of the New York Rangers
Succeeded by
Frank Boucher
Preceded by
John S. Hammond
President of the New York Rangers
Succeeded by
John S. Hammond