and Will Johnson
Nelson NHL veteran Pat Price was inducted into the BC Hockey Hall of Fame Friday night in Penticton.
“Every kid who plays minor hockey aspires to play in the National Hockey League,” said Price. “I’m one of the fortunate few who have realized their dream.”
The 59-year old, who retired from the NHL after dressing for 726 games, started his career with the Saskatoon Blades and was drafted 11th overall by the New York Islanders in 1975. Instead of joining the Islanders, he signed with the World Hockey Association’s Vancouver Blazers for $1.3 million.
“I had two options: the NHL … and the WHA. The WHA was paying more money, so I took the opportunity to take the cash. And then a year later things didn’t work out too well. So I went back in the NHL draft and was drafted in the first round again, so I was lucky to have the best of both worlds,” said Price.
Price ultimately played for the Edmonton Oilers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Quebec Nordiques, New York Rangers and Minnesota North Stars.
Price said it was a tremendous honour to be inducted and reminded him of something his father told him.
“It’s what you leave behind. It’s not what you take with you,” said Price.
“I have the ability to leave something behind for my friends and my family, especially my grandchildren so they can come and eventually see what their granddad did. I’m very proud of the moment.
Price described playing hockey professionally as an elite situation that few people get to experience.
“A lot of people, unfortunately, don’t get that opportunity. I’m very happy to have had that opportunity and to pass it on to my kids.”
Price credited his childhood setting and the tutelage he received in Nelson as instrumental to his success.
“We were in lucky in Nelson because we had a scholarship program.”
Price now works three days a week at a Kelowna golf course to keep busy.
“I’m ADD or something like that. I have to do something,” he said. “It gets me out of the house and keeps my wife happy.”
Price said the job is a welcome change of pace.
“I’m kind of like Forrest Gump. I just drive a tractor and pick up the golf balls, put them in the machine.”
When asked for the highlight of his career, Price’s answer was simple. “Just being there is a highlight.”
Goalie Kirk McLean, player and coach Bill Ennos and the 2004 Memorial Cup winning Kelowna Rockets were inducted along with Price.
Photos from the night’s event are available for viewing online at: