Lynn Patrick

Lester Patrick started his last complete season as a player in 1924-25 with the Victoria Cougars of the WCHL. Ten years later, his oldest son Lynn---born in Victoria on February 3rd, 1912 where his father was playing with the Victoria Aristocrats in the old PCHA---made his start with the New York Rangers under the guidance of his father.

Not that Lynn's mother wanted him to play hockey. She even arranged for Lynn to study dentistry at the University of British Columbia, but with his heart in the game of hockey, he flunked out early. His parents then agreed to let him try hockey as a career.

Although his father and uncle Frank had both been defensemen, Lynn developed as a forward and played left wing and center. Three years later his brother Muzz started as a defenseman.

Lynn made his debut when the Rangers opened the 1934-35 season. He played on a line with Bert Connolly and Charlie Mason, but it was a tough year for Patrick. Many didn't like him right from the get go because he was the boss's son. When he was struggling and the boobirds of Madison Square Garden got on him, insulting him with the nickname 'Sonja' after Sonja Henie, the famous figure skater. They also chanted "We Want Somers," referring to Art Somers, former Ranger left wing.

Eventually, these taunts would end after his rookie season. He improved his play in 1936-37 and was very prominent in the 1937 playoffs with 3 goals in 9 playoff games. With the Colville brothers and Alex Shibicky supporting the line of Phil Watson, Lynn Patrick and Cecil Dillon, the fans were delighted and the slick passing style caught the fans imagination.

1940 was a great year for the Rangers, as they won the Stanley Cup. It was an especially moving moment for the Patrick family, as father Lester hoisted the Stanley Cup alongside sons Lynn and Muzz.

The following three seasons were Lynn's best. He tied with Bryan Hextall for the point scoring leader on the Rangers in 1940-41, scoring 20 goals for the first time in his career. The following year he hit his peak, as he scored a league leading 32 goals and made the 1st All-Star team. The Rangers finished first that year, the last time a Ranger team would do that in over a half century.

In 1942-43, the Rangers were devastated by World War II, losing many players to the armed forces. Lynn was still around this season and had a good year, scoring 22 goals and 61 points to finish fourth in NHL scoring and making the second all-star team. At least the Rangers had Lynn to smile about that year, as the Rangers were just terrible and finished last.

But it would be even more horrible for the Rangers in 1943-44. Lynn Patrick was headed for greatness, but World War II put an end to that dream as now Lynn joined the armed forces to end the Nazi threat. The Rangers scored little and gave up a whopping 6.20 goals per game in 1943-44. When Lynn came back to the Rangers, he could not regain his old form. After 1945-46 he was farmed out to New Haven where he became coach.

Patrick became the Rangers coach in 1948-49, leading them a Stanley Cup final appearance in 1950. But his future would lie not in New York but Boston. Bruins mastermind Art Ross was aging and wanted a successor at Boston, and offered Lynn a lucrative contract to coach, and eventually manage, the Bruins. Patrick led the Bruins to a Stanley Cup final in 1953 and as general manager, he kept the Bruins a contender through the 1950's.

After Boston finished last in six consecutive seasons in the 1960's, Lynn resigned as Bruins general manager after 1964-65. However, a new team was joining the NHL in 1967. The St. Louis Blues needed a manager and coach for their very first NHL season and Patrick accepted the two positions with the Blues.

The Blues didn't do very well for their first coach and Patrick resigned after 16 games. He hired a coach, Scotty Bowman, and this man started his legendary coaching career with the Blues. Bowman got the Blues to the Stanley Cup finals two straight years and Patrick, now 58, decided to retire and gave the managing duties to Bowman for 1969-70. Lynn remained as a Blues vice president, but would coach the Blues for 2 games in 1974-75 when Lou Angotti resigned. Garry Young took over as coach, and, ironically, when Young was fired in 1975-76, Lynn coached the Blues for 8 games before the Blues hired Leo Boivin.

On January 26th, 1980, Lynn attended a dull Blues game with the Colorado Rockies at the St. Louis Arena. While driving home, he suffered a heart attack and his car crashed into a fire hydrant. Lynn Patrick died at the age of 67.

He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame posthumously that year.


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