Ice Hockey Wiki

Craig Patrick

Craig Patrick
Position Centre
6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
190 lb (86 kg)
Teams California Golden Seals
St. Louis Blues
Kansas City Scouts
Washington Capitals
Nationality Flag of the United States American
Born May 20, 1946(1946-05-20),
Detroit, MI, U.S.A.
Pro Career 1971 – 1979
Hall of Fame, 2001

Amateur career

After spending most of his childhood in Wellesley, Massachusetts, he was sent at age fourteen to Quebec to play junior hockey in the Metropolitan Montreal Junior League for the Lachine Maroons and later the Montreal Junior Canadiens.

He attended the University of Denver where he helped guide the Pioneers hockey team to the NCAA championship in 1968 and 1969. He played on the US National Team for 1969–70 and 1970–71 seasons, including the 1970 and 1971 Ice Hockey World Championship tournaments while serving in the US Army.

Patrick with the California Seals.

Career as a professional player

Patrick's pro career was comparatively modest but he did play eight seasons in the NHL with the California Golden Seals, the St. Louis Blues, the Kansas City Scouts, and the Washington Capitals. He also played briefly for the Minnesota Fighting Saints of the World Hockey Association in 1976–77 before jumping back to the NHL when the Saints folded. He amassed 72 goals, 91 assists, and 163 points in 401 NHL games during his playing career. He also was a member of Team USA at the inaugural 1976 Canada Cup tournament and also played for the U.S. at the 1979 Ice Hockey World Championship tournament in Moscow, shortly before retiring from professional hockey.

The Miracle on Ice

Patrick served as Assistant General Manager and Assistant Coach under Herb Brooks for the 1980 US Olympic Gold Medal winning hockey team, the Miracle on Ice. He was also the general manager of the 2002 US Olympic team, which won the silver medal – the first US hockey medal since the 1980 team.

NHL management and beyond

In 1980, he became director of operations for the New York Rangers and in 1981 became the youngest general manager in Rangers' history. He also served as head coach of the Rangers for parts of two seasons (1980–81 and 1984–85).

He was named general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins on December 5, 1989. During his tenure, the Penguins won two Stanley Cup championships and one President’s Trophy. Patrick also served as head coach of the Penguins twice, during the 1989–90 and 1996–97 seasons.

His early years as GM of the Penguins are remembered as some of the most productive in the history of the franchise. In 1990, he spent his first round draft pick on an unknown player from Czechoslovakia named Jaromír Jágr. He traded the Penguins' second round pick that year to Calgary for Joe Mullen, a player the Flames had considered to be over the hill. Perhaps his most legendary trade occurred March 4, 1991, when he sent John Cullen, Jeff Parker and Zarley Zalapski to the Hartford Whalers in exchange for Ron Francis, Ulf Samuelsson and Grant Jennings. The move was viewed as a huge gamble. Cullen was the fifth leading scorer in the NHL at the time. However, the players Patrick acquired in the trade played big roles in the Penguins' Stanley Cup championship victories in 1991 and 1992.

However his later years were plagued by the Penguins' financial woes as well as a series of poor trades. Perhaps his most infamous trades came in March 1996 when he send future NHL scoring ace Markus Näslund to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Alek Stojanov, a role player with just two career NHL goals. In 2003, a Sports Illustrated article described this as the "worst trade in NHL history,". The subsequent trade of Sergei Zubov, a perennial contender for the Norris Trophy, also hurt the team. Another disaster came in July 2001 when Patrick sent NHL superstar Jaromír Jágr and role player Frantisek Kucera to the Washington Capitals for three minor league prospects (Kris Beech, Michal Sivek, Ross Lupaschuk) and nearly $5 million cash. Although the deal was forced by the Penguins financial woes as well as Jágr's growing dissatisfaction with the Penguins, the trade was widely criticized in the Pittsburgh media. None of the three prospects acquired in the deal made any significant contribution to the Penguins' organization. Another reason for this criticism was because the New York Rangers were willing to make a deal which would have given Pittsburgh two established players and higher quality prospects. But many believed Patrick resented the Rangers for firing him earlier in his GM career, which made him ask for a greater and to an extent unfair return. One published report had Patrick demanding Petr Nedved, Radek Dvorak and Mike York, as well as two prospects for Jágr, which Rangers GM Glen Sather quickly shot down due to the number of players demanded by Patrick.

His tenure as GM also saw a hit and miss record in the NHL Entry Draft. Sparkling first round picks early in his tenure such as Jágr, Martin Straka and Markus Näslund were balanced by later first round busts such as Chris Wells, Róbert Döme, Craig Hillier, Milan Kraft and Stefan Bergkvist. Productive drafts in the early 2000s produced young talent such as Marc-André Fleury, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, could not reverse the growing opinion in the public or among team management that Patrick had lost his touch.

Patrick was relieved of his duties as Penguins General Manager on April 20, 2006, when his expiring contract was not renewed by team president Ken Sawyer.

On January 9, 2014, Patrick was named Special Assistant/Advisor to the Hockey Operations department of the Buffalo Sabres.

Patrick family history

Five members of the Patrick family have won the Stanley Cup.

Lester Patrick (Craig's grandfather) with Montreal Wanderers 1907 (player), Victoria Cougars 1925 (president/manager-coach), New York Rangers 1928 (playing manager-coach), 1933 (manager-coach), 1940 (manager)

Frank Patrick (Craig's great uncle) - Vancouver Millionaires 1915 (playing president/manager-coach),

Lynn Patrick (Craig's father) - New York Rangers 1940 (player)

Murray "Muzzy" Patrick (Craig's uncle) - New York Rangers 1940 (player)

Craig Patrick - Pittsburgh Penguins 1991, 1992 (general manager)

Glenn Patrick (Craig's brother) - never won the Stanley Cup.

Curtiss Patrick (Craig's nephew) - minor league hockey player in the AHL and ECHL.


Patrick was named "The Sporting News" Executive-of-the-Year in 1998 and 1999. He is the third generation of his family to have his name inscribed on the Stanley Cup and the third generation to be enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame (in the Builder Category). Patrick spent two years as athletic director at the University of Denver (his alma mater) in 1988–1989. He was enshrined into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996. He was awarded the Lester Patrick Trophy, named for his grandfather, in the 1999–2000 season for his outstanding service to hockey in the United States.

Coaching record

Team Year Regular season Post season
G W L T Pts Finish Result
NYR 1980–81 60 26 23 11 (74) 4th in Patrick Lost in Conf. Finals
NYR 1984–85 35 11 22 2 (64) 4th in Patrick Lost in First Round
PIT 1989–90 54 22 26 6 (72) 5th in Patrick Missed Playoffs
PIT 1996–97 20 7 10 3 (84) 2nd in Northeast Lost in First Round

External links

Preceded by
Fred Shero
Head Coach of the New York Rangers
Succeeded by
Herb Brooks
Preceded by
Herb Brooks
Head Coach of the New York Rangers
Succeeded by
Ted Sator
Preceded by
Gene Ubriaco
Head Coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins
Succeeded by
Bob Johnson
Preceded by
Tony Esposito
General Manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins
Succeeded by
Ray Shero
New York Rangers Head Coaches
PatrickBoucherL. PatrickColvilleCook • Boucher • M. PatrickWatson • M. Patrick • PikeHarvey • M. Patrick • SullivanFrancisGeoffrion • Francis • Popein • Francis • StewartFergusonTalbotSheroC. PatrickBrooks • C. Patrick • SatorWebsterEspositoBergeron • Esposito • NeilsonSmithKeenanCampbellMucklerTortorellaLowTrottierSatherRenney • Tortorella • VigneaultQuinn