Patrick, a 21-year NHL defenseman, served as an assistant coach for the Buffalo Sabres over the past seven seasons, working under Ruff from 2006-13 and Ron Rolston to finish out last season. Prior to becoming an assistant coach in Buffalo, Patrick began the 2005-06 season as their skill development coach before finishing his playing career for Frankfurt of the German Elite League.
“I think for both of us it is an exciting fresh start,” Patrick told starsinsideedge.com. “Being a coach in this business you’re fortunate to stay in one place only for so long. I never would have expected to be in Buffalo for so long, coming there as a player and being there for over 14 years. It’s a fresh start and it’s going to be real exciting. I’ve heard nothing but great things about Dallas.”
A first-round selection (No. 9) in the 1981 NHL Draft by the New York Rangers, Patrick stands 20th among NHL defensemen in games played (1,280), 29th in assists (490) and 30th in points (639). He spent time with the New York Rangers, Hartford Whalers, Calgary Flames and Sabres, and appeared in the 1999 Stanley Cup Final with Buffalo against Dallas.
“He played in the League for 20 years,” Ruff told starsinsideedge.com. “He’s coached with me for a number of years. He’s played in just about every situation. He knows the game very well, and I think he’ll be a tremendous asset to our young defensemen.
“We do have really good chemistry. I went through a long list of candidates, some with head coaching experience, and I ended up going back to James, who I am very comfortable with. I like that he played defense and he’ll be working with the defense. I think he’ll be able to skate with them, he’s in that good of shape. I think from a development standpoint, he’ll be really good with our defensemen.”
Patrick, 50, won championships for Canada at the 1982 World Junior Championship and 1987 Canada Cup, and bronze with the 1983 World Junior team. He also represented Canada at the 1984 Winter Olympics and the 1983, 1987, 1998 and 2002 World Championship.
The native of Winnipeg, Manitoba attended the University of North Dakota for two seasons (1981-83), winning the NCAA National Championship in 1982 and being named to the NCAA National Championship All-Tournament Team.