A local hockey personality will be inducted into the 2013 class of the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame in a ceremony in July, joining a few other prestigious names.
Colin Patterson has played and coached at various levels throughout his life locally and abroad, joins a 2013 class that includes—among others—Mark Recchi Paul Kariya, Marc Crawford and the 1994 and 1995 Kamloops Blazers teams.
“I think it’s an honour and well-deserved on all their parts,” said Patterson, on his fellow inductees. “Just to be in the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame under the category of builder/coach is an honour for sure, because there are a lot of great people that have been inducted in past years and there will be a lot more inducted in future years.”
Patterson grew up playing minor hockey in Kimberley and Cranbrook, and played a year at the now defunct Notre Dame University College out of Nelson.
From there, he received a scholarship and went on to NCAA hockey with Michigan Tech, helping the team win a championship in 1965.
“That was quite an honour and being able to play with a lot of great players down there too, and under great coaching,” Patterson said.
Patterson was in a familiar place with Michigan, as his brother played there a few years prior, along with a few other local players from the Cranbrook region.
After his time with Michigan Tech, Patterson came back home for a year with the Kimberley Dynamiters, before heading out to the University of Calgary, where he finished a degree in education.
After that, Patterson went international and headed over to Switzerland and got behind the bench as a coach.
“It was a great opportunity to coach over there and that was my first sort of inclination that I might want to keep coaching,” Patterson said. “I was there for two years and came back to Cranbrook and ended up getting a job with the school district and also then started coaching the Cranbrook Colts in Junior B.”
Patterson’s school district position put him in Laurie Middle School, where he stayed for 30 years teaching mathematics.
He met and married his wife, Janet, and began a family that grew to three sons—Brad, Shane and Jeff.
Patterson juggled his day job as a teacher with coaching the Colts, and he also began to get involved with the B.C. Amateur Hockey Association, helping out on the coaching development end of things.
During his association with BCHA, he twice took a team to the Canadian Winter Games and helped out with the selection process for a couple national U17 and U18 teams.
One of Patterson’s biggest contributions to the game came when he authored a series of lesson plans in the late 1970s that have were put to use by the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association, an organization that merged into Hockey Canada in 1994.
It started at the behest of Bob Nicholson, the current president of Hockey Canada, who was the development coordinator for B.C. at the time.
“He talked me into it,” said Patterson. “It took quite a while, but it has been quite successful and I’m sure it’s helped out a lot of coaches not just across B.C., but right across Canada and I think it’s gone into the U.S. and I know they use it over in England.”
The plan consists of four booklets that detail all kinds of resources for coaches such as drills and materials for those drills. Each of the 20 lesson plans contained within are different and as coaches and hockey players advance through the booklets, the drills get more complex in order to build, strengthen and develop new skills.
Patterson went international again in the 1980s, when Dave King, who was the head coach of Team Canada’s Spengler Cup team, invited the Cranbrookian along as a guest coach.
“It was great,” said Patterson. “You couldn’t get a better teacher than Dave King and also, in that particular time, Guy Charron, who is currently coaching the Kamloops Blazers right now—he was part of their coaching staff at the time.”
When the WHL came to Cranbrook in 1998 after Ed Chynoweth moved the Ice franchise to the Kootenays from Edmonton, Patterson was invited to join the team by Chynoweth and former GM Bob Tory, where he helped out for the better part of a decade.
He worked alongside Ryan McGill during his first tenure as head coach from 1997-2002.
McGill, who returned for his second stint with the Ice last offseason, said Patterson deserves to be recognized for his contributions to the game and that the community should be proud of his accomplishments.
“The people of Cranbrook should be very proud for what he’s done not only for minor hockey in this town, but for hockey in general and his love of the game and his passion for doing anything to help people or kids or coaches or anybody within the game.”
Having Patterson’s presence and hockey knowledge beside him in those early years when the Ice were starting anew in Cranbrook was invaluable, McGill added.
“He always had the instincts of how to put perspective on wins and losses and always had the instincts to have that calming influence in the dressing room and on the coaches—myself in particular,” McGill said.
Patterson was at the side of McGill and Cory Clouston when the team won the Memorial Cup in 2002. The same year, he retired from his teaching job at Laurie Middle School.
In the later half of the 2000s, Patterson got the chance to head back over to Europe and do some coaching with teams in Holland and Britain. However, he’s now stepped back a little from the game, but keeps his nose in the WHL by joining Jeff Hollick as a colour commentator during Ice broadcasts.