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Lester Patrick

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Curtis Lester "The Silver Fox" Patrick (December 30, 1883 – June 1, 1960) born in Drummondville, Quebec, Canada. He 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).

Lester Patrick Wanderers 1906

Patrick with the Montreal Wanderers in 1906

Playing careerEdit

Lester Patrick was a great rover and defenceman who first came to prominence in 1904, when 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 mighty Ottawa Senators for the Stanley Cup in that season, but were badly thrashed in the two game-total goal series.

He had better 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.

The PCHAEdit

The Patricks long had western ties—their father Joe was a major lumber entrepreneur in British Columbia -- and in 1911 Lester and Frank Patrick 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 a decade and a half 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.

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 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.

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.

New York Rangers (1926-1946)Edit


Lester Patrick in 1928

Patrick is famous for an incident which occurred during the Stanley Cup finals of 1928. At the age of 44, while serving as coach and general manager of the Rangers, Patrick inserted himself into a playoff game to play goal against the Montreal Maroons due to an eye injury to starting goaltender Lorne Chabot. Patrick allowed one goal in helping the Rangers to an overtime victory. The Rangers went on to win the Stanley Cup. He also guided the Rangers to another championship in 1933. 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. He finally retired as general manager in 1946, but stayed on as vice president of Madison Square Garden, finally exiting in 1950.

Retirement Edit

He 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.

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

He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1947.

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.

The Patricks have rightly 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 while another grandson, Dick Patrick (Muzz's son) has been president of the Washington Capitals since 1982 (he is also a minority owner).

NYR1932 33

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

External linksEdit


  • The Patricks: Hockey's Royal Family, Eric Whitehead, 1980, Doubleday Canada Ltd., Toronto, Ontario
Preceded by
Head Coaches of the New York Rangers
Succeeded by
Frank Boucher
New York Rangers Head Coaches
Patrick • Boucher • L. Patrick • Colville • Cook • M. Patrick • Watson • Pike • Harvey • M. Patrick • Sullivan • Francis • Geoffrion • Francis • Popein • Francis • Stewart • Ferguson • Talbot • Shero • C. Patrick • Brooks • C. Patrick • Sator • Webster • Esposito • Bergeron • Esposito • Neilson • Smith • Keenan • Campbell • Muckler • Tortorella • Low • Trottier • Sather • Renney

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