The Day the Coach Played Goalie

Lester Patrick - The Silver Fox

One of the all-time greatest sports stories, from the era when teams carried only one goalie (no mask!) on the roster.  In the Stanley Cup finals, an old coach strapped on the pads when his goalie was injured – his eye was gushing blood, otherwise he’d still be in there… he’s a hockey player.

In an unsportsmanlike break with custom, the opposing coach would not allow him to use a substitute goalie from the crowd.  (Not even a minor leaguer!)  His team played inspired hockey and won the game.  The NHL intervened and allowed the Rangers to use another goalie for the balance of the series, and they went on to win the 1928 Cup.

I remember thinking, among other things, how amazing it was for an old guy to do that.

He was 44.  He must have survived on a diet of back bacon and poutine.

The Patricks are like the Rooneys of the NHL.  (With glasses he might have passed for an 80 year old Art Rooney.)  Their innovations:

Artificial ice
Numbered Jerseys
Blue Lines
Penalty Shots
Allowing of goalies to leave their feet to make a save
Allowing of players to kick the puck
Rewarded assists on goals
“On the fly” line changes
Encourage rushing defensemen
Inaugurated a farm team system

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