January 20, 2014

Lester Patrick's Greatest Game: In Rossland, Not New York

Here is a fantastic read from Greg Nesteroff of the Nelson Star newspaper in BC's beautiful Kootenays....

Hockey legend Lester Patrick’s incredible career included several Stanley Cup wins as a player and coach. He also co-founded and played in Western Canada’s first professional league and came out of retirement at age 44 to tend goal as an emergency replacement in a Stanley Cup final.

Yet when asked to name his most memorable game, his mind flashed back to the Kootenays, where he and brother Frank played for Nelson while working for their father’s lumber company.

According to a Canadian Press story in the Regina Leader Post of May 22, 1957:

“Lester recalled in an interview that the greatest game of his career was played in a small open-air rink in Rossland during the 1907-08 season ... Lester, known to Rossland fans as ‘that Stanley Cup player,’ was captain of the Nelson squad and subjected during the first game to ‘the old razz berry.’

“He mapped the plan of action accordingly and for the first 45 minutes didn’t move from his own end of the ice while Rossland scored two goals. With 15 minutes to go the Silver Fox was the only fresh man on the ice. He held the puck almost all the time, scored two goals and set up two more to lead Nelson to a 4-2 win.

“‘It was wonderful,’ Lester says. ‘I think it was my greatest game.’

Maybe so, but Lester did play in bigger contests and won Stanley Cups, even if, judging by the following photo, he did not quite know what to do with it . . .

1 comment:

Iain Fyffe said...

Let's see if Lester's 50-year-old memories stand up to fact-checking. According to Craig Bowlsby's Knights of Winter, there are three recorded games in 1907/08 where Nelson played Rossland. The scores were 7-3, 4-3 and 3-4. Patrick played point, and did score 2 goals in a game, but it was the last one (a loss). The second game fits the fact pattern a bit, Nelson was behind after the first half, and Patrick scored on a great run early in the first half (not late in the game) and his team came back to win.

Nothing in 1908/09 matches, they'd have known Lester by then and he played rover that season.

It holds up better than some old stories like this, but perhaps Lester should have referred to the Nelson Miner before telling the tale...