Hockey truly proved to be the Patrick family business on October 8, 1971, when Craig Patrick became the first third-generation player to take the ice for the NHL. Having signed with the California Golden Seals (as a free agent) two days earlier, Craig played opening night in the 4-4 tie with the Los Angeles Kings. He remained with the Seals into a fourth season, at which time, he played two games with his brother Glenn, a defenseman.The Seals teammates were the third set of Patrick brothers to play professional hockey. Craig, a right wing, played nine seasons with the NHL and one with the WHA for a total of 401 games (72G, 91A, 163P). His father, Joseph Lynn Patrick, a center, skated ten seasons with the New York Rangers (between 1934 and 1946) for a total of 455 games (145G, 191A, 336P). Lynn’s brother, Murray “Muzz” Patrick, defenseman, skated with him most of those years. These second-generation brothers shared in the Stanley Cup win in 1940, and then in 1945-46, they returned to the Rangers for their father’s final year as general manager. That father, Lester Patrick, defenseman, played with various non-NHL leagues that added up to 18 professional seasons and about 228 games (152G, 65A,
217P). He successfully challenged for the Stanley Cup with the Montreal Wanderers in 1906 and 1907. Bracketing those years, Lester played on teams with his brother Frank. Lester’s only NHL game as a player came during the 1926-27 season, when the Rangers’ goalie was injured needing Coach Patrick to man the crease.
Not only did the three generations of Patricks skate in the NHL, they all coached and worked as general managers for the Rangers and other teams.
In 1911, Lester and his brother Frank organized the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA), for which Lester played for the Victoria Aristocrats and then coached their replacement, the Victoria Cougars (to a Stanley Cup win). When the Western Hockey League (WHL) replaced the PCHA and then folded 1926, Lester replaced Conn Smythe as coach and general manager of the newly formed New York Rangers. He coached the Rangers until 1939 (through two Stanley Cup wins) but stayed on as general manager until 1946 (adding another Stanley Cup championship).Lynn briefly coached the Rangers for two seasons that included losing the Stanley Cup finals, ending the 1949-50 season. His brother Muzz led the Rangers through some tough years without reaching the playoffs. Meanwhile, Lynn followed his uncle Frank, who had coached the Boston Bruins for two seasons in the mid-1930s. Lynn coached the Bruins for the first five seasons of the 1950s and then stayed on as general manager until 1965. Two years later, like his father before him, Lynn set out as the first coach and general manager of a brand new team – the St. Louis Blues. After the first sixteen games, Lynn appointed Scotty Bowman as coach and focused on managing. Lynn returned to coaching for the 1974-75 and 1975-76 seasons, the first of which would see Craig playing for him.
Craig’s coaching career started off with a miracle. As assistant coach and assistant general manager, he helped lead the U.S. team to gold in the 1980 Winter Olympics. He then spent the first half of that decade as coach and general manager of the Rangers. In 1989, he coached the Pittsburgh Penguins for a season before switching to general manager. In that role, he led the Penguins to two Stanley Cup championships (in 1991 and 1992) and became the longest-serving general manager (lasting until 2006).
All three Patrick generations are represented in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Lester was inducted in 1947, and Lynn’s induction came in 1980. Craig was first inducted to the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996 and then as a Builder to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001.
Further, since 1966, the NHL and USA Hockey have presented the Lester Patrick Trophy for “outstanding service to hockey in the United States.” Lynn posthumously received the award in 1989, and Craig was rewarded in 2000. Thus, the Patrick legacy lives on.