At the age of 14, he was sent to Quebec to play junior hockey in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for the Lachine Maroons and later the Montreal Junior Canadiens.
He attended the University of Denver where he helped guide the Pioneers hockey team to the NCAA championship in 1968 and 1969. He played on the US National Team for 1969-70 & 1970-71 seasons and on the US team in the 1976 Canada Cup.
Patrick played eight seasons in NHL with the California Golden Seals, the St. Louis Blues, the Kansas City Scouts, and the Washington Capitals. He amassed 72 goals, 91 assists, and 163 points in 401 games during his playing career.
He served as Assistant General Manager and Assistant Coach under Herb Brooks for the 1980 US Olympic Gold Medal winning hockey team, the Miracle on Ice.
In 1980, he became director of operations for the New York Rangers and in 1981 became the youngest general manager in Ranger's history. He also served as head coach of the Rangers for parts of two seasons (1980-81 & 1984-85).
He was named general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins on December 5, 1989. During his tenure, the Penguins won two Stanley Cup championships and one President's Trophy. Patrick also served as head coach of the Penguins twice during the 1989-90 and 1996-97 seasons.
Patrick was named "The Sporting News" Executive-of-the-Year in 1998 and 1999. He is the third generation of his family to have his name inscribed on the Stanley Cup and the third generation to be enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame (in the Builder Category.) He was enshrined into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996. He was awarded the Lester Patrick Trophy, named for his grandfather, in the 1999-2000 season for his outstanding service to hockey in the United States.
Patrick was relieved of his duties as Penguins General Manager April 20, 2006.
Patrick was portrayed by actor Noah Emmerich in the 2004 film Miracle.
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