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Lester Patrick’s Slocan tryout

Updated: Jan 31

I recently came across a charming anecdote about hockey legend Lester Patrick in West Kootenay that I had never seen before — and in fact found several slightly different versions of it.


The first appeared in the Toronto Star Weekly of June 27, 1936 as follows:

RECALLS PATRICK UNKNOWN MAESTRO
Lester preceded fame to coast — Wanted by Slocans
Nelson — Reputations did not travel very fast into this West Kootenay country 30 years ago.
So Carl Lindow, now postmaster at Salmo, 15 miles from here, avers and he says Lester Patrick, New York Rangers maestro, can bear him out.
Lester came west in 1907 with his father, who was looking for timber limits after having worked out his holdings in the province of Quebec.
Lindow was interested in timber at that time and something of a hockey player himself.
Seated around a campfire at Slocan, on mountain-bordered Slocan Lake, Lindow extolled on the possibilities of the Slocan city squad in the Kootenay league the next winter.
Turning to Lester he asked if he played hockey.
The young Patrick nodded.
“Well,” said Lindow, “if you can show any promjse perhaps you can make a place on the team.”
“Show the boys your watch, why don’t you,” suggested father Joe Patrick.
Lindow took the timepiece, turned it over, then handed it back and a few minutes later “turned in.”
On the back of the case was inscribed: “Presented to Lester Patrick, captain, Montreal Wanderers, World’s Hockey Champions.”
Next day, however, Lindow felt somewhat mollified when, after Lester had vainly tried to bag a prairie hen with five shots, Lindow clipped the hen’s head with his first shot.

The timber cruising trip took place in the fall of 1906. But Carl Lindow was a real guy and given that he appears to have been the source of the story, seems to have appreciated its value despite being the goat. Although born in Australia, Lindow was indeed a hockey player, and was mentioned in the Slocan Drill as playing in several games for Slocan in 1904. I wasn’t aware of him ever being a team manager, however.


He later moved to Salmo, where he was owned the Salmo Trading Co. and was postmaster there from 1916-48. He was also involved in the Sheep Creek townsite.


Another version of the story, which contained precisely the same details but told in different words appeared in the Dayton (Ohio) Herald on Jan. 18, 1937, reprinted from John P. Carmichael’s column in the Chicago Daily News. The only difference was that it cut the story off at the punchline, with Lindow viewing the watch and then deciding the fire needed more wood.


A third version appeared in the Montreal Gazette of Dec. 10, 1947, again quoting John Carmichael, who trotted the story out for Lester Patrick Night in New York.


Nelson Daily News sports columnist Walter Wait also related the story on Dec. 22, 1952, which reintroduced the coda and slightly elaborated on it. It is entirely possible Wait may have heard the story again from Lindow.

Next day, [Lindow] recovered some ground. Lester, who packed a new rifle of powerful calibre, and intended to supply the camp with meat, shot five times at a fool hen and didn’t come close. Lester discarded the rifle in something akin to rage and Mr. Patrick offered the rifle to Lindow. The latter took one shot to ‘find’ the sights and then clipped the hen’s head off.

An abbreviated version also appeared in Joseph Patrick’s obituary (at least the one I am looking at from the Ottawa Journal of Jan. 29, 1941), which called it “one of his favourite stories” which he “never tired” of telling.


While the story might be apocryphal, there is actually some suggestion Lester might have suited up for the Slocan City team. According to New Denver’s Slocan Mining Review of Feb. 13, 1908:

Slocan City has challenged the local hockey club to a game, and it will be pulled off here on Wednesday next before the Masquerade Ball starts. The Slocan team hope to bring along to play for them Lester Patrick, who was for several years captain of the famous Wanderers of Montreal.

Alas, the next edition is missing, but some photo evidence exists to suggest that Lester accepted the offer.


I’ve previously written about how Lester regarded a game in Rossland as his greatest ever — actually he probably conflated the memory of a couple of games — and about his return to Nelson in 1948.


Updated on Oct. 1, 2023 to mention Walter Wait’s version of the story. Updated on Jan. 31, 2024 to add the original version of the story from Star Weekly.

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Greg Nesteroff
Greg Nesteroff
22 nov 2018

They must have moved there together – Carl actually died in Banff in 1958. Iva lived until 1989. She died at 95.

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Great story. My grandmother used to talk about Carl and Iva (?) Lindow all the time. I think Iva moved to Banff after Carl’s death.

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