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.

Just Posted

Victoria City Councillor Laurel Collins wins federal NDP nomination

Collins will run for Victoria in the upcoming federal election

Eco warriors to shut down Douglas Street on Earth Day

Environmentalists to call on banks to divert investments into green infrastructure

Long weekend starts with series of crashes

The long weekend traffic pile up is starting with a series of… Continue reading

Police investigating after crash on Hillside Avenue

Traffic was obstructed while involved vehicles removed from scene

Victoria church bells toll in solidarity with Notre Dame Cathedral after devastating fire

Churches around the globe ring bells to honour iconic Paris cathedral

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Howe Sound Queen sailing toward retirement

Vessel now up for auction ends regular runs between Crofton and Vesuvius at the beginning of June

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Police pursue pesky porker on Vancouver Island

‘This was allegedly not the pig’s first escape’

Most Read