Vancouver Hockey Centennial
Celebrating 100 Years of the Game of Hockey
By Gary Selby
It all begins with a dream and the courage to pursue it. The vision to build it and the discipline to maintain it. These are the elements of success, these are the elements of a true champion. This is the history of The New York Islanders. A story of courage and of strength rich in the telling.
The New York Islanders were founded in 1972. They are members of the Atlantic Division in the Eastern Conference. One of three teams of the NHL in the New York City Metropolitan area, based in Uniondale New York on Long Island.
The New York Islanders are Stanley Cup Champions, winning in four consecutive years- 1979-80, 1980-81, 1981-82, 1982-83.
Eight alumni of the New York Islanders are members of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
As proud members of the NHL, the New York Islanders pay tribute to the city of Vancouver, and a century of excellence. For their contribution to the sport of hockey, and 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, and Lester had also played for the Montreal Wanderers. He became the very first defenseman 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 its most brilliant and breathtaking level, their vision and courage created the game we play today. The face of hockey is their contribution. They introduced the twenty two rules that have created the game, the sixty minute game being divided into three twenty minute periods, the first team system in hockey, as well as the playoff series, the blue line, forward passing, the penalty shot, and numbers on sweaters so fans could identify the players.
The Patrick brothers also gave us 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, and eventually allowing a team to dress two goaltenders before a game.
The Patrick brothers along with their father Joe sold their prosperous sawmill business to single handily establish and finance 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 where 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 New York Islanders are proud beneficiaries of their dream and are proud to play the game that is the legacy of so many who came before.
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, initiative, and integrity. We honor the Patrick brothers – the builders of hockey.
Please join The New York Islanders in celebrating this hockey milestone.