Sunday, November 15, 2009

Larry Patey

Larry Patey was a 12 year veteran of NHL wars. He played in 717 games and was a noted defensive specialist. In 1981 he was runner up to Bob Gainey and Craig Ramsay for the Selke Trophy as best defensive forward in the league. That year he scored a league leading 8 shorthanded goals.

Not bad for a late bloomer. Patey was never a top player on his youth teams, and never even played major junior hockey. Instead he accepted the opportunity to play for Boston University back when it was still rare for serious NHL prospects to play there.

He never did get a chance to suit up with the BU Terriers. Freshmen weren't allowed to play at the time. Patey found a little known team in Braintree to keep active while studying. It was during an exhibition game with the United States national team that NHL scouts first really noticed him.

Patey would be drafted 130th overall by the California Golden Seals in 1973. Patey would drop his studies and turn professional. He would played 98 games in the Bay Area, but was best known as a St. Louis Blue. Despite scoring 25 goals and 45 points in his first full NHL season, late in 1975 Patey was traded to St. Louis in exchange for Wayne Merrick, a similar type of player.

Patey emerged as a top defensive forward in St. Louis. He formed a suffocating defensive tandem with winger Mike Crombeen over the next 7 seasons.

A devastating back injury all but ended Patey's career in 1983. He would play in only 33 NHL games over the next three seasons, the last two of which were with the New York Rangers.

Patey retired 1985 having played 717 games. He scored 153 goals, 163 assists and 316 points.

Patey held a lot of interesting off ice interests, too. He held a pilot's license since the age of 15. He pursued his real estate license during his spare time, and became a successful St. Louis area realtor after retiring from hockey. He remained in the game by opening his own hockey school, giving back to youth in the community. He also was active in the Blues' alumni organization and played in charity games.


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