This is George McPhee's 15th season as general manager of the Washington Capitals, meaning he's been with the franchise exactly half as long as his boss, team president Dick Patrick, who will receive the Lester Patrick Trophy for his service to hockey in the United States during the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony Monday night in Dallas.
While the Capitals have made the playoffs in 23 of Patrick's 29 seasons with the organization, McPhee said the real measure of Patrick's influence has been the growth of hockey in the Washington, D.C., area during the past two decades.
"He's lived it," McPhee told NHL.com. "He grew up with it in the area with his son Chris playing -- Chris and Jeff Halpern played together all the way up, and Dick was able to coach them."
Perhaps the most impressive statistic is the growth in the number of high school hockey teams in the area. In 1990, according to the Capitals, there were 15 high school teams and 250 players. By last season, that number had grown to 110 teams and 2,300 players.
"He knows the grass-roots level of hockey in Washington very well, having experienced it," McPhee said of Patrick. "He's always donated a lot of resources for growing the game at that level."