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Vancouver Hockey Centennial

by Staff Writer / Washington Capitals

Vancouver Hockey Centennial

In honor of a dream. In tribute to the dreamers. Vancouver, to a century of excellence and contribution to the sport of hockey. To the fathers of the dream, Frank and Lester Patrick. Pioneers and builders of the game that holds a nations heart. To one of the greatest stories ever told in sport. Whose contribution created the game we play today. The Patrick brothers had played hockey at McGill University in Montreal. Lester had also played for the Montreal Wanderers. He became the very first defence man ever to score a goal. They were also pioneers in the establishment of Women's hockey. Founders of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association. They became known as the ''brains of hockey.''

Building the sport to it's most brilliant and breathtaking level. Their vision and courage created the game we play. The face of hockey today is their contribution. They introduced the twenty two rules that have created the game, the sixty minute game being divided into three twenty minite periods, the first team system in hockey. As well as the playoff series, the blue line, forward passing, the penalty shot, numbers on sweaters so fans could identify the players.

Also, the practice of a defenseman bringing the puck up the ice, the goal assist, substitution of players while the game was being played, allowing a goaltender to fall to the ice to make a save, the gesture of raising the stick when a goal was being scored. To eventually allowing a team to dress two goaltenders before a game.

The Patrick brothers along with their father Joe sold their prosperous sawmill business. Single handily establishing and financing three West Coast Teams. The Victoria Senators, The New Westminster Royals and The Vancouver Millionaires, so called because of the high salaries the brothers were willing to pay to have the best talent re-establish themselves on the West Coast.

The brothers financed their own arena, the Denman Arena. Vancouver's climate necessitated playing on the first artificial ice rink in Canada. In a city were most people had never seen a hockey game or had any knowledge of the sport. The odds against them were immeasurable. Teams had to travel for days by train just to play a game. Yet the Vancouver Millionaires would go on to play for the Stanley Cup five times and win the Stanley Cup in 1915. They lived the dream.

The Centennial of the birth of professional hockey in Vancouver is also the Centennial of the expansion of hockey to become a North American sport we love and play today. Frank and Lester Patrick had a dream and the courage to pursue it. We are all the beneficiaries of their dream. They exhibited Imagination, Imitative and Integrity. We Honor them. The builders of hockey.

Join the Washington Capitals in celebrating this hockey milestone.
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