Over the course of his 18-year professional career, Canadian hockey player Patrick Roy (born 1965) proved to himself and hockey fans everywhere his outstanding skills and instincts as a goaltender. His heroic actions to defend his team, even when ill or suffering from appendicitis, in addition to his out standing skill in front of the net made him a popular icon. When he retired from professional hockey in 2003, he left as the National Hockey League's (NHL's) all-time career leader in victories and games played as a goaltender. In addition, his playoff performances are marked by records as the goaltender with the most playoff wins, games played, minutes played, shutouts, and consecutive wins in the post season.
Patrick Roy was born on October 5, 1965, in Quebec City, in the province of Quebec in Canada. His parents lived in the nearby suburb of Sainte Foy. He came from athletic stock: his mother was a nationally ranked synchronized swimmer and his father was an accomplished tennis player and amateur baseball player. Roy grew up cheering for his home-province team, the Quebec Nordiques.
The Early Years
Roy began playing hockey at age six. He did not start out at the goal, but when one of the neighborhood kids was injured he stepped into the net and never left. When he was seven he strapped pillows to his legs with his dad's belts to create goalie pads. He eventually played goalie for local midget and junior leagues.
Roy's family was highly respected within their community, and the young hockey fan's father held high-ranking government positions. While his brother and sister both attended school in English, Roy continued his education in French and concentrated on hockey and goaltending. Most children from his neighborhood went on to college and professional careers, but in 1982 Roy dropped out of school in the eleventh grade and, with the support of his parents, played hockey for the Granby Bisons of the Quebec junior league. The team did not do well, winning only 16 of 44 games. "It was tough playing [for the Granby Bisons,]" the competitive Roy later recalled in A Breed Apart: An IllustratedHistory of Goaltending. "But I got a lot of work and it was a good experience. I learned to deal with the frustrations of losing and now I appreciate more the enjoyment of winning." Despite his team's record, Roy was named the Quebec Junior League's top goaltender.
Skated with the Pros
In 1984 the Montreal Canadiens chose Roy as their fourth-round pick in the 1985 National Hockey League (NHL) draft. Then 19 years old, Roy was the 51st draft pick overall. The Canadiens sent Roy to play for their American League affiliate, the Sherbrooke Canadiens, where he watched the game as a third-string goaltender. Then, during the American League playoffs, opportunity knocked on Roy's door after Sherbrooke's regular starter, Paul Pageau, took time off for the birth of his a child at the same time that the team's second-string goalie had trouble with some of his equipment. Roy joined the team on the ice in front of the net. He stayed there, winning 10 out of 13 playoff games, and Sherbrooke won the Calder Cup championship. The next fall Roy was called up to the Canadiens. "It was a dream come true, to be playing in my province and for Canada's team," he told an interviewer for Sports Illustrated for Kids.
During Roy's 1985-1986 rookie season, the Canadiens won their 23rd Stanley Cup championship. Roy had an awesome average of 1.92 goals per game during the playoffs, was voted Most Valuable Player, and won the Conn Smythe Trophy. Despite his professional performance, he still acted like a kid, playing street hockey, living in a basement apartment, and subsisting on a diet of hamburgers, French fries, and potato chips. Eventually his team brought in a nutrition expert to teach Roy to use food to fuel his body in order for him to have enough energy to last throughout the game. This may have led to Roy's routine of eating spaghetti and water at 1 p.m. on game days.
Quirks and Superstitions
Very superstitious, Roy adopted many routines that fans came to recognize. Before each game he skated out to the blue line and stared at his net, beaming thoughts to his goal posts. "I talk to my posts," he admitted in A Breed Apart. "It's a superstition. The forwards talk to each other. The defense is always close, but the goaltender is alone." He would also not skate on the blue or red lines. He wrote the names of his children on his sticks before each game and kept a puck from every shutout during the season in his locker.
Roy earned an eight-game suspension at the beginning of the 1987-1988 season for slashing the leg of Minnesota's Warren Babe. However, as soon as he was back, he impressed the crowd by shutting out Chicago 3-0. During the 1988-1989 season he won the Vezina Trophy, an award given to the goaltender playing the most games on the team with the most Goals against Average. Roy became his team's main goalie during the 1989-1990 season and played more than 50 games. He won another Vezina Trophy that year and was named to the All-Star team.
The Building of a Legend
During the early 1990s Roy slowly climbed his way back into the public's favor. By the time the 1992-1993 playoffs rolled around he recorded the most wins of any goaltender—16 of 20 games—and the lowest goals against average—2.13. He set a record with ten straight sudden-death wins, gaining immortality in Canadein lore. During game four of the Stanley Cup finals against the Los Angeles Kings, the score was tied and Tomas Sandstrom was taking multiple shots on Roy. Partway through the third period Sandstom stormed the net attempting a rebound, but Roy smothered the puck. Roy looked up at Sandstrom and winked. The TV cameras caught the wink and played it repeatedly, and it became one of the lasting pictures of the playoffs. "I knew Sandstrom was taking lots of shots, but not getting anything," Roy told a Saturday Night interviewer. "And I knew he wasn't going to beat me." Roy led the team to another Stanley Cup win and again walked away with the Conn Smythe. Montreal rewarded him with a new four-year contract for $16 million.
During the 1994 playoffs Roy became even more of a legend. He was diagnosed with appendicitis and hospitalized, but convinced his doctors to let him out of the hospital without surgery. Loaded up on antibiotics, he played in game four, stopping 39 shots and helping Montreal win 5-2. He then returned to the hospital for the surgery and was back on the ice a few days later. Roy's position on the Canadiens seemed secure.
Tantrum Led to Trade
Unfortunately for Roy, things are not always as they seem. On December 2, 1995, he became irritated with Canadiens coach Mario Tremblay after Montreal star Vincent Damphousse was allowed to play despite the fact that he showed up only minutes before warm-ups. Roy made his feelings known to Tremblay before the game. Out on the ice the Canadiens took a beating from the Detroit Red Wings, and Tremblay let Roy simmer in the net for nine goals before pulling him out late in the second period. Furious, Roy went over to Canadiens president Ronald Corey, who was seated behind the Montreal bench, and declared publicly that he had played his last game for Montreal. "The only thing I regret is raising my hands" in mock salute to fans, who had cheered sarcastically after a save, Roy explained in Sports Illustrated. "They'd been great to me. It showed a short memory on my part." His tantrum and obvious insubordination ended his career with Montreal, and he was traded to the Colorado Avalanche within four days. Roy worked well with the Avalanche, which coincidentally used to be his childhood favorite Quebec Nordiques. A few weeks after the trade the Avalanche played against the Canadiens and won. After the game Roy flipped a puck at Tremblay. "It made me feel so good. It was a mistake, but I don't regret it," Roy was quoted as saying according to Hockey's Greatest Stars. "I'm an emotional person. I let my emotions go. I know sometimes it gets me in trouble, but I know it sometimes helps me to play better too."
Six months later the Avalanche went to the 1996 Stanley Cup to play against the Florida Panthers. That year the Panther fans had taken to throwing plastic rats out onto the ice when their team scored. During the first two games, Roy only let one goal in each game. But in the third game, the Panthers scored two goals quickly, and the ice was showered with plastic rats. As the maintenance crew picked them up, Roy skated over to the Avalanche bench and told his teammates, "No more rats," according to Hockey's Greatest Stars. There was not another goal scored against Roy during the rest of the series, and the Avalanche won the cup in a triple-overtime shutout in game four.
Unique Style Proved Effective
Roy's signature style, known as the butterfly, where he kneeled on the ice with his legs at right angles to his body, is physically impossible for most mortals. His flexibility enabled him to cover the entire bottom of the net with his goalpads, reducing the number of goals scored against him. In October of 2000 Roy's technique helped him beat Terry Sawchuk's record of 447 regular-season wins to result in an all-time high. He was so entrenched in the Avalanche success story that a ceremony honoring him was held at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. The mayor announced he had named a street after Roy, and the state's governor proclaimed Patrick Roy Week. Team owner Stan Kroenke displayed a bronze bust of Roy. Perhaps the attention was too much for Roy; just 24 hours later the police were called to his home where he had lost his temper and was ripping doors off their hinges. He spent six hours in custody on charges of misdemeanor criminal mischief in connection with domestic violence. Roy was quickly back out on the ice minding the net, and in 2001 he won another Stanley Cup with the Avalanche as well as another Conn Smythe Trophy.
In May 2003 Roy retired from the NHL. He made the decision to leave the game while still playing at the top of his game. Indeed, he left the NHL with impressive records in both regular season and playoff games. His regular season records include being the goaltender with the most victories (551) and games played (1,029), and his post-season play is marked by his records as the goaltender with the most playoff wins (151), games played (247), minutes played (15,209), shutouts (23), and consecutive wins in the post season (11 in 1993).
Despite his inability to control his emotions outside the game, Roy's personality quirks seemed to help him on the ice. "His teams have always fed off his energy," Stars center Mike Modano told a contributor to Sporting News. "He's like the guy at the carnival dunking booth, daring you to dunk him. But very few can." Perhaps it all started with another of Roy's rituals: that of leading his teammates through an elaborate stick-and-glove tapping ritual before the opening face-off of every game.
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"Patrick Roy." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/patrick-roy
"Patrick Roy." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Retrieved June 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/patrick-roy
Canadian hockey player
One of the greatest goalies to ever play the game, Patrick Roy was a dominant goalie from his rookie season in Montreal in which he lead the Montreal Canadiens to a Stanley Cup. In addition to winning four Stanley Cups with Montreal and the Colorado Avalanche, Roy also won three Conn Smythe Trophies as playoffs most valuable player. Roy also surpassed Terry Sawchuk as the NHL goalie with the most regular season wins.
Roy was born on October 5, 1965, in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, the son of Michel and Barbara Roy. His father was the vice president of the Quebec Automobile Insurance Board, while his mother was a real estate agent who was also a champion synchronized swimmer and swim coach. Roy's brother Stephanne was a forward who was drafted in the pros. Roy himself began playing hockey as a child, and decided to be a goalie when he was seven.
Drafted by the Canadiens
In 1984, Roy was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens with the 51st pick. At the beginning of the season, he remained in major junior hockey, playing with the Granby Bisons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. This was a very bad team, and Roy's goals against average was 5.55 in forty-four games. He was then called up to the Sherbrooke Canadiens in the American Hockey League. The team won Calder Cup with Roy in net. Finally,
he joined the Montreal Canadiens at the end of the 1984-85 season playing in one game, a win.
Won Stanley Cup
In 1985-86, Roy was one of the two goalies (the other being Brian Hayward) carried by the Canadiens during the regular season. He posted a respectable regular-season record of 23-18-3 with goals against of 3.35, and carried much of the load during the playoffs. Though a rookie, Roy played like a veteran. During the playoffs, he had a record of 15-5 with a 1.92 goals against average. Montreal defeated the Calgary Flames to win the Stanley Cup. Roy was named playoff MVP, the youngest player to ever win the honor. He made $80,000 for the season. Roy was one of the keys to Montreal's success, but he also had a great defense in front of him. He was still developing his butterfly style of play. He had some flaws in his style, included angles and puck handling, but corrected them. It was also revealed that Roy had some goalie quirks, including that he talked to his goalposts telling them they will all play well and no pucks will go in.
Describing his goaltending style, Robin Finn of the New York Times wrote, "the lanky Roy shimmies and shivers in his crease like a twitching stork. While his positioning is usually impeccable, he rarely remains statuesque for long, and tends to flail his way to the ice in pursuit of rebounds."
Roy could not immediately follow-up this success. In 1987 and 1988, he put much pressure on himself to repeat with the Stanley Cup, instead of focusing on winning in the first round of the playoffs. Though he was nominated for the Vezina Trophy, the award given to the best goalie in the NHL, he had more improvement in 1988-89 as he became more consistent in the regular season.
Roy finally won his first the Vezina Trophy in 1989, a year in which he lead the league with a 2.47 goals against average. He also won the Vezina in 1990 and 1992. In 1991-92, Roy lead the league with a 2.36 goals against average, but the Canadiens lost in the second round to the Boston Bruins.
Won Second Cup with Montreal
Though Roy had a relatively poor regular season in 1992-93, posting a career high goals against of 3.20, and was not even nominated for the Vezina, he rebounded in the playoffs. Backstopping the Canadiens to another Stanley Cup, Roy won ten straight overtime games in the playoffs. He had a playoff record of 16-4, with a 2.13. Montreal defeated the Los Angeles Kings to win the Stanley Cup. Roy was again awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy.
Traded to Colorado
Roy did not live up to the expectations of the rabid Montreal fans and media, especially when the team missed the playoffs in 1995. Already known for having a temper, during a game in December 1995, Roy acted out when the first-year Montreal coach Mario Tremblay did not take him out of a game in which he was losing badly, something that was generally done. Roy declared he would never play for the Canadiens again. He was suspended, then traded to the Colorado Avalanche. This blowup was not the only reason he was traded. Roy was making the highest salary in Montreal—$2.8 million per season—on a team that had money issues.
|1965||Born October 5 in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada|
|1984||Drafted with the 51st pick by the Montreal Canadiens|
|1984-85||Plays for the Granby Bisons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League|
|1985||Plays first game in goal for the Montreal Canadiens; is in net for the Sherbrooke Canadiens (AHL) when the win the Calder Cup|
|1986||Wins Stanley Cup with the Montreal Canadiens|
|1993||Wins Stanley Cup with the Montreal Canadiens|
|1995||Is traded from Montreal to Colorado Avalanche on December 6|
|1996||Wins Stanley Cup with the Avalanche|
|2000||Breaks Terry Sawchuk's record of most regular season wins by a goalie|
|2001||Wins Stanley Cup with the Avalanche|
Though Roy was traded, he went into a good situation. The Avalanche won the Stanley Cup in 1996, defeating the upstart Florida Panthers. Roy was in net as the Avalanche went to the playoffs each year 1997-2001, but did not repeat as Stanley Cup champions until 2001. Roy again won the Conn Smythe Trophy. In 2002, Roy again had great a regular season with a 1.94 goals against. While he kept team going in the 2002 post-season, he lost to Detroit in Western Conference Finals, letting in six goals in the seventh and deciding game of the series. The defeat did nothing to shake his confidence, and Roy did not plan on retiring in the near future.
Roy is generally recognized as a great goalie who changed the position and how it is played, refining the butterfly style. He also owns two significant records that cemented his reputation. In October 2000, in a game against the Washington Capitals, he bested Terry Sawchuk's record for regular season wins by a goalie with 448 plus and counting. He already held the record for playoff wins with 121 (before the 2001 playoffs). As Michael Farber wrote in Sports Illustrated, "outside the box of numbers and awards … Roy is the most important goalie in history."
|Colorado: Colorado Avalanche (NHL); Montreal: Montreal Canadiens (NHL).|
Address: c/o Colorado Avalanche, Pepsi Center, 1000 Chopper Circle, Denver, CO 80204.
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Dater, Adrian. "'Motown Meltdown' is long over." Denver Post (October 9, 2002): E4.
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Finn, Robin. "2 Pillars of Humility." New York Times (May 19, 1989): B19.
Frei, Terry. "Avalanche notes: Roy likes current workload." Denver Post (October 25, 2002): D7.
"Inside the NHL." Sports Illustrated (October 23, 2000): 90.
Kravitz, Bob. "King of the Kiddie Corps." Sports Illustrated (October 13, 1986): 38.
Paige, Woody. "Greatest athlete, period." Denver Post (September 20, 2002): D1.
"Roy Captures No. 400 for Red-Hot Colorado." Washington Post (February 6, 1999): D6.
Swift, E.M. "The Habs Have a Hot One." Sports Illustrated (May 19, 1986): 32.
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Tyrangiel, Josh. "People." Time (October 30, 2000): 107.
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Sketch by A. Petruso
Awards and Accomplishments
|1985||Was in net for the Sherbrooke Canadiens (AHL) when the won the Calder Cup|
|1986||Sport Magazine 's playoff MVP|
|1986, 1993||Won Stanley Cup with the Montreal Canadiens|
|1986, 1993, 2001||Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP|
|1989-90, 1992||Vezina Trophy as league's outstanding goalie|
|1996, 2001||Won Stanley Cup with the Avalanche|
|2002||All-Star (first team)|
"Roy, Patrick." Notable Sports Figures. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/sports/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/roy-patrick
"Roy, Patrick." Notable Sports Figures. . Retrieved June 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/sports/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/roy-patrick