It’s March! That means a great many things. There’s the start of March Madness, followed by spring. For hockey fans, it is the end of an anxious time following the NHL trade deadline.
It’s also the month where many celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. In fact, there’s a hockey connection.
The name Patrick and hockey have a very long history. There was once a Patrick Division. It was formed in 1974, then a part of the Campbell Conference. The division moved to the Wales Conference in 1981 and existed for 19 seasons until 1993. It was originally named in honor of former New York Rangers defenseman Lester Patrick. It has been known as the Metropolitan Division since 2013.
There’s also the Lester Patrick Trophy presented each year by the NHL and USA Hockey since 1966. Since the award takes into consideration of the recipient’s contribution to the sport in the United States, it is not considered an NHL trophy because it can be awarded to players, coaches and officials outside the NHL.
There have been a great many NHL players named Patrick. Maybe you are considering becoming a player collector. If so, here are five players named Patrick you should consider collecting:
☘️ Patrick Kane
He’s the biggest Patrick in the league these days and for good reason. He recently joined the New York Rangers in arguably the biggest deal before the end of the NHL trade deadline.
What can be said about Kane other than he’s a fantastic player with loads of playoff experience who can benefit the Rangers immensely this spring after coming over recently from the Chicago Blackhawks. Kane is a three-time Stanley Cup winner who has tallied 446 goals and 779 assists for 1,225 points in 1,161 games in 16 seasons with the Blackhawks.
I can see Kane’s card values earning a bit of a spike now that he’s in New York and the Rangers – at least on paper – have a roster deep enough to make a championship run. Kane’s 2007-08 Upper Deck Young Guns rookie card has suddenly become the card collectors living in the New York metro area want to get their hands on.
☘️ Patrick Roy
The legendary goaltender is among a small group of netminders who collectors love. I’ve always said that goaltenders don’t get the love they deserve in this hobby. There are several notable exceptions and Roy is one of them.
In fact, he’s known as “Saint Patrick,” which is certainly one of the best nicknames in NHL history. Roy split his NHL career between the Montreal Canadiens, with whom he played 11 seasons, and the Colorado Avalanche, where he played for eight. Roy won four Stanley Cups during his career, two with each team.
While there are many Roy cards out there, I’ve always loved the one known as “The Mask” put out by Pro Set during the 1991-92 season. Roy’s not pictured on either the front or the back of the card, but you know it’s him just by looking at the iconic red-and-white Habs mask made famous by him.
☘️ Patrick Marleau
The now-retired Marleau may have had stints with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Pittsburgh Penguins, but he will forever be known as a member of the San Jose Sharks.
Marleau has played in 1,779 NHL games, making him the all-time leader in that category. He surpassed the record previously held by the great Gordie Howe on April 19, 2021. Marleau recorded 1,197 career points, a career that started when the Sharks drafted him second overall in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft.
Marleau also has plenty of cards, but one of my favorites is of him in a Sharks uniform in the 2001-02 Topps Heritage set. That’s still a time when Topps had a hockey license, but also during a period when I wasn’t as engaged with the hobby as I am now. There’s nothing more fun, now more than two decades later, than finding cards from that year in quarter and dollar boxes at shows.
☘️ Pat LaFontaine
Born Patrick Michael LaFontaine, the former Islanders, Rangers and Sabres player goes by Pat. I always liked LaFontaine and he’s turned out to be a pretty good TTMer – that is, signing autographs via requests sent “through the mail” – during his post-playing days.
LaFontaine spent his entire playing career with the league’s three New York State-based teams. He played for the New York Islanders from 1983 until 1991, the Buffalo Sabres from 1991 until 1997 and the New York Rangers from 1997 until his retirement in 1998. His 468 goals and 1,013 points makes him one of the league’s best American-born players ever.
LaFontaine’s career came during the Junk Wax era, meaning most of them are pretty cheap to come by if you choose to player collect him. Of course, one of my favorites is the 1990-91 Pro Set card of him in a Wales Conference jersey. The All-Star card is cheap and you could get him to sign it either by mail or at the upcoming Sport Card Expo, where he will be appearing next month.
☘️ Pat Stapleton
Like LaFontaine, Stapleton also went as Pat throughout a career that spanned three parts of three decades. I never saw Stapleton play, but I’ve read enough about him to know he’s a legend.
Stapleton, who died in 2020 at age 79, played 15 seasons in the NHL and WHA from 1959 to 1978 – most notably for the Chicago Blackhawks. He also was a member of Team Canada at the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union, playing in seven of the eight exhibition games. Stapleton’s son, Mike, also played in the NHL for 14 seasons.
Stapleton appeared on cards we call vintage today. My favorite is from the 1971-72 Topps set. It’s just worth about $5, but one worth getting if you collect cards featuring one of the best card designs ever.
Do you collect any of the players on this list? Who is your favorite “Patrick” to collect?
Clemente Lisi is a lifelong Rangers fan who first started collecting cards in 1986. He collects both vintage and modern with a focus on rookie cards. Follow him on Twitter @ClementeLisi.