Scott Blair The Hockey Writers
Rangers’ Father-Son Combinations: Hextalls and Patricks
There have been several father and son combinations in NHL history. Some had a great deal of success and others had fairly quiet careers. The New York Rangers have had two father-son combinations that had a great deal of success over generations, and they both helped bring the Rangers a Stanley Cup championship as well.
The Hextalls are a very successful hockey family from Bryan Sr. all the way down to Ron, the grandson. Bryan Sr. entered the NHL in the 1936-37 season with the Rangers but he only played three games. The next season, his first full season, he had a respectable 17 goals in 48 games. The following year, he began a string of six straight seasons with 20 or more goals. During that span, he helped lead the Rangers to a Stanley Cup in 1939-40.
Related: 1940 – The Best Team in New York Rangers History
Bryan Sr. led the league in goals during the 1939-40 and 1940-41 seasons. In the 1940 Stanley Cup Final, he scored the winning goal in overtime of Game 6 to bring the Cup to the Big Apple. That was the last time the Rangers would win the Cup until 1994. Bryan Sr. led the league in points during the 1941-42 season and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1969. The eldest of the Hextall NHL clan played all of his 11 seasons with the Blueshirts and tallied 367 points in 449 games.
Bryan Jr. broke into the league in 1962-63 with the Rangers. He was a center who played 10 seasons in the NHL (one with the Rangers). His best season was 1972-73 where he had 54 points in 78 games.
Dennis had a longer career than Bryan Jr. He played 13 seasons and broke into the league with the Rangers in 1968. The centerman ended his career after the 1979-80 season and finished with 501 points in 681 games. He also racked up 1,398 penalty minutes.
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Ron Hextall never played for the Rangers and was the only one of the Hextalls who chose to play goalie. He set a single-season record for penalty minutes by a goaltender and was the first goalie to score a goal by shooting directly into the opposing team’s net. Billy Smith was credited with a goal first, though, because he was the last player to touch the puck before it went into the opposing team’s open net. Ron won the Vezina and Conn Smythe trophies for the 1986-87 season.
The Patricks are cemented in hockey lore as one of the best families ever to play in the NHL. Lester, the patriarch, was the GM and coach of the Rangers in 1926-27 during their first NHL season. He also ended up suiting up in goal during the 1928 Stanley Cup Final. The 44-year-old Patrick was coaching the Rangers when their goalie got injured, and he took it upon himself to finish out the game between the pipes. He allowed one goal in the Game 2 overtime win. They went on to win the first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
The league named the Lester Patrick Trophy after him. The award goes to the person who best contributes to ice hockey in the USA. The now-defunct Patrick Division was also named after him.
Lester’s sons Lynn and Muzz were part of the 1940 Rangers Stanley Cup win. Lester was the GM of the team which Bryan Hextall Sr. was a part of as well. Lynn and Muzz played with the Rangers from 1937-46. Lynn went on to a Hall of Fame career like his father while Muzz had a solid career as a stand-up defenceman.
Lynn, a Center, played with the Rangers from 1934-46 scoring 336 points in 455 games. He was awarded the Lester Patrick Trophy in 1988-89. Muzz only played 164 games in his NHL career spanning five seasons from 1937-46. He went into the military after the 1941 season and achieved the rank of Captain before returning back to the team in 1945.
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Lester’s grandson and Lynne’s son Craig was an assistant coach and assistant GM of the Miracle on Ice team, and he later became head coach of the Rangers for two seasons. He had a below .500 record while at the helm of the Blueshirts. Craig played eight NHL seasons before coaching. He won back to back Stanley Cups as GM of the Pittsburgh Penguins and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame “builder” category.
The Hextalls certainly made their mark in the NHL over the years while the Patricks are considered hockey royalty by many. Both families gave Rangers’ fans many reasons to cheer dating back almost a century.
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