Legend’s legacy on display as Cougars visit Royals

Lester and Frank Patrick's effect on hockey is omnipresent

And so the Cougars return, a team bearing his legacy.

Friday and Saturday nights the Victoria Royals host the Prince George Cougars for their first meetings this season, 7:05 p.m. at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.

The Royals (11-11) have little reason for rivalry with the Cougars (7-11-1-3) outside of being division foes, at least in the current climate of the WHL’s B.C. Division.

But lest we forget the history. Oh the history.

Foremost, that name is not theirs. And it’s not just Victoria’s. It’s his. And what’s his, is sacred to the game.

He is hockey’s royal of all royals, the sport’s true master, Lester Patrick, who came to Victoria in 1910 and died here in 1960.

His hockey team, the Victoria Senators, became the Cougars in 1922 and won the Stanley Cup in 1925. The Cougars lost the Stanley Cup in 1926, and the roster was subsequently sold, under his direction, to Detroit, remaining as the Detroit Cougars until 1930. Out of desire for something different, that club became the Falcons, and then Red Wings.

The Victoria Cougars were reborn in 1949 as a minor pro team, with farm affiliation to the NHL, under the guidance of coach, owner and general manager Lester Patrick. And again, in 1971, 11 years after his death, this time as the Western Hockey League franchise it is today.

And now the Prince George club returns, as it will each year. Of course, everything about the modern game bears the work of Lester and his brother Frank. The blue line. Forward passing. Numbers on the back of sweaters. Their imprint is omnipresent.

But some things are Victoria specific. Cougars for instance, stalk the streets of Fairfield and James Bay to this day. Descendants no doubt from those which threatened the city’s urban livestock a century ago. Certainly a factor in the decision of the original team name.

Perhaps the Cougars title is better served in the safety of Esquimalt, where it’s current incarnation as a junior B team is undefeated in regulation after 23 games, the top ranked club in Canada. Coincidence or karma?

Alas, seeing as how the Cougars of the north are entrenched in their community, perhaps it’s also best to let it be.

Let their version of the crest, foreign and all, serve as a nod to he who tweaked the blueprint of the game from the comfort of houses that no longer exist in James Bay and Fairfield, and a rink that no longer stands in Oak Bay.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Faulty janitorial equipment likely caused Saanich school fire

Saturday morning fire damaged roof of Strawberry Vale Elementary

Greater Victoria records highest unemployment in history with 11 per cent

Past peak was 7.8 per cent more than a decade ago, according to South Island Prosperity Partnership

Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre to host a trio of acts

Aaron Pritchett, Alex Cuba and Valdy will each play four shows

Garth Homer Society in Saanich turns lemons into lemonade with online programs

Victoria disability organization sets up online programs and learning tools in wake of COVID-19

Human behaviour likely to deter birds from Esquimalt Lagoon, survey suggests

More Great Blue Herons spotted, fewer mallard ducks seen

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Shellfish industry get funds to clean up at Island sites and beyond

Businesses can apply to cover half of costs to clean up so-called ‘ghost gear’

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Most Read