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The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana • Page 103

Indianapolis, Indiana
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Moyoine Secfon December 5, 1937. THIS WEEK TAKE Hldl OUT!" "That's what the fans yelled when my son played his first game of big-league ice hockey. I had expected that But read what happened later! by Lester Patrick Coah of ffce New York ffongen LYNN PATRICK: THE REDHEADED KID WHO FOOLED HIS FATHER AND BECAME A STAR A THE play swirled swiftly up and down the rink, I winced on the bench as ft each tooth-rattling body check was handed out. Toronto's defense men were hitting us with vigor and they were hulking fellows. We had to win this game to keep in the race for the 1937 Stanley Cup playoffs, and things looked black.

The Toronto Leafs already had two goals and Buzz Boll, Syll Apps and Harvey Jackson were skating like furies, determined to protect that lead. My Rangers' only chance of overhauling the Leafs lay in our first line. Frank Boucher, the clever veteran, centered that first line of ours, and on one -wing he had Cecil Dillon, who can really fly on steel. A redheaded youngster playing his first season on the top line was at left wing. Suddenly Dillon saw his opening.

A shimmering ribbon of shaved ice squirted off his blades as he suddenly shifted and swooped across the mouth of the Toronto net. He feinted Walter Broada out and there was a tell-tale bulge in the netting as Dillon's shot found its mark. Again, a few minutes later, raven-haired Dillon outskated his checker, deftly fondled a pass on the end of his stick, and beat the Toronto goaler. The pass? Oh, it had been shuttled in by Boucher or maybe it was that redheaded kid. The kid did seem to be in on every play, at that There was Dillon loose again! For the third time his shot lit that tell-tale red bulb.

We won that game, 5 to 3, and I felt pretty fine about it as I left the dressing room. In the passage I met King Clancy, veteran Toronto defense man, and Conny Smythe, his boss. Smythe asked: "I suppose you think Cecil Dillon was the best man on your club tonight?" Well, I did, and I said so. After all, Dillon had banged in three goals! "That shows," snorted Smythe, "how much you know about it. You can have Dillon, Lester.

Ill take that kid of yours for He was tops tonight. Didn't you see who set up the plays for those goals that Dillon made?" Yes, it had been my own flesh and blood 24-year-old Lynn Patrick skating out there on the first line with Boucher and Dillon. And as Smythe made his offer I felt a twinge of guilt. I realized I had been leaning backward too far, trying not to favor my son. If I had needed any additional proof after Smythe waved that $10,000 offer in my face, it came a few weeks later.

We were in a tight spot with Les Canadiens of Montreal. The Flying Frenchmen were leading the league when they came into Madison Square Garden that February night last winter. Moreover, they had us down, two goals to none, with eight minutes left to play. Then it happened. Lynn streaked straight down the middle, splitting the Canucks' defense, took a pass from Joe Cooper at the goalmouth and beat I Iainsworth in the nets with a pretty feint and shot.

After that the Canadiens watched him every moment, hounding him, jostling him. But somehow, Lynn tore loose again. He stickhandled his way through brilliantly, hurdling enemy sticks which were hooked out in a desperate effort to halt his wild tour. Lynn played other games. I lc did liavc some hockey at the indxr rink in Victoria but in 192?) the rink burned down.

Lynn was 17 then and heartbroken. When I inaugurated my hockey school in (Vtolx-r, 193-1, Lynn begged me for a chance to attend. I let him come, but told him outright that he didn't have a chance. Then Boucher and Gxk hutted in. They told me in front of Lynn that they thought I was wrong that he had possibilities! The lxy was overjoyed.

of course, was furious. 1 lowevrr, as a result of this interference by Boucher and Gxk, Lynn jumprd onto the Rangers, without any professional experience an unheard-of thing. Almost until it dawned on me that he was a "find" for the Rangers I was hoping Lynn would turn to something surer, safer and saner for a living. Having taken many a thumping and gone down where my nose, ears and eyes were hobnobbing with some defense man's razor-sharp blades, I knew well that hockey is new safe, and not always sane. The 1935-.

season was the first year in Ranger history that we missed the Stank-y Cup playoffs, but Lynn's rise to stardom was some balm for tltc lxrak-up of hxkey's greatest forward line Bill and Bunny Gxk and Frank Boucher. last year I profited handsomely by the brilliant play of my son. He shot many vital goals in the amazing march of a team that was a 50 to 1 shot to get into the Stank-y Cup finals, after finishing last tlie year Ixfore. As far as Lynn's case gs and I insist that any big-city lad has as much chance as he had to make the Rangers, as far as opportunities and exerience are concerned wonders never cease. His brilliant work did not end with tlx; regular season; unk-r the stress and strain of Stank-y Cup play he continued to climb to real stardom.

In our first game in the playoffs, against Toronto, the Leafs were favored to snuff us right out of the running. Tlx! play was fast, hard and scorekss for 55 minutes. Tlx-n Lynn traslxd through to notch our first goal tlx; orx-ning wedge for a victory that was to bring us also into a conquest of tlx; highly-favored Montreal Maroons and smatkbang into the defending champions, tl mighty Red Wings of Detroit. You can imagine how I felt as Lynn pounded in two goals in our first tiff with the Red Wings, to k-ad the way in an upset 5 to 1 victory over the cliampions. That, for me, was the climax of a very happy year, even though the Rangers didn't have quite enough k-ft to carry on and capture tlx; prized Stanley Cup.

I lot key has held many thrills for me. I have been in fourteen Stank-y Cup finals the hockey equivalent of baseball's World Series in my thirty-four years of major-league hockey. I've s-en Broadway take to hoc key and acclaim my stars. But nothing has given me the flush of satisfaction that came with the realization tliat my bungling but persistent redheaded boy had made tlx; grade to stardom. ir Ranger bench beside me, could have done a much better job playing center on our third line than tliat redheaded youngster of mine.

I knew he was no star, believe me. And newspapermen whose colorful stories had called me a hockey wizard, "the Gray Fox of the Rinks," felt that I knew it. But I had made up my mind I was going to see the redlieaded kid through. Lynn, you see, had always had visions of being a big star, but I had always told him that lie never had a chance in hockey, that he wasn't made for the game. Lynn was born and brought up in Victoria, capital city of Iiritish Columbia, where the weather is so mild that often the entire winter passes without a single day of outdoor skating.

While lads in other parts of the Dominion practically teethed on their hotkey sticks, Finally he was in there again, eye-to-eye with the goaltender. There were just sixty-three seconds left to play when he shot that tying goal. We won in overtime, 5 to 3. Lynn Patrick had come a long way since his debut in professional hockey. Lynn had been pretty terrible when he first donned a Ranger suit back in the 1934-1935 season.

I can hear it now, as it rolled down from the top balcony of Madison Square Garden that insistent demand, chanted over and over, "Take him out I We want Somers!" That cry stabbed me hard. My team, with some of its old stars fading fast, seemed to be floundering. The fans were impatient, angry. Wise in the ways of hockey, they kept up that chant: "We want Somers!" Now, Artie Somers, squatting there on the.

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