Patrick Roy was the first wave of the new breed of goaltenders to emerge from Quebec, helping establish that province as the dominant training ground for that position. Confident and quirky, Patrick developed a style that saw him become the winningest goaltender in the history of the National Hockey League.
Roy's career began with the Granby Bisons of the QMJHL, a league known to stress offense. At the 1984 NHL Entry Draft, Patrick was drafted 51st overall by the Montreal Canadiens, a team he disliked growing up in a suburb of the Habs' most dreaded foes, the Quebec Nordiques. In 1984-85, his final year with the Bisons, he was called up by the Canadiens, ostensibly to observe the action from the end of the bench for a few games. But on February 23, 1985 he replaced starter Doug Soetaert. With the score tied 4-4 to start the third period, Roy went in and the Canadiens won the contest 6-4, giving Patrick his first win in his very first game, after just 20 minutes of play.
After the game, Roy was sent to Sherbrooke to observe how the minor pro game was played. Sherbrooke had two netminders, and Patrick was certain he would not play, but fortune smiled on him once again. The one night he was the backup, the starter had equipment troubles early in the game.
Subsequently Patrick came in and played well, and the starter never played another game the rest of the season. In the AHL playoffs, Roy established what was to be his finest attribute -- the ability to play under pressure. He led the team to a Calder Cup championship, and the next fall, he was at Montreal's training camp looking to join the club full time.
In his rookie season of 1985-86, he played 47 games and took over the starter's role when the playoffs arrived. By that point in the season, Roy could not be beaten. Montreal won an improbable Stanley Cup in 1986 and Patrick Roy was named recipient of the Conn Smythe Trophy for his outstanding playoff play.
Roy's heroics in the 1986 playoffs were celebrated all over Montreal. He was dubbed 'Saint Patrick' for his play, but now was expected to consistently keep up the level of play to those high standards, even though the team around him was struggling. In ensuing years, Patrick won 30 games, but it was not until 1993 that he was able to win another Stanley Cup for Montreal. Again, Roy won the Conn Smythe for his remarkable play in 1993.
Roy's life changed on December 2, 1995. At home facing the Detroit Red Wings, Montreal played its worst home game in franchise history, losing 12-1.
Roy was kept in goal for 9 goals by coach Mario Tremblay, and when he was finally pulled midway through the second period, Patrick told team president Ronald Corey that he had played his final game for the club.
Rejean Houle, Montreal's general manager at the time, was forced to trade Roy to the Colorado Avalanche along with Mike Keane in return for Andre Kovalenko, Martin Rucinsky and Jocelyn Thibault on December 6, 1995. A new era in the Patrick Roy history book was underway. He joined a top-flight team and within a few months, he had captured yet another Stanley Cup title, this time as a member of the Avalanche.
Part of Canada's Olympic team in 1998, Roy went on to play in eleven All-Star games and won three Vezina Trophies throughout his illustrious career. Early in the 2000-01 season, he surpassed legendary Terry Sawchuk in career wins with a total of 447; a number most fans thought was untouchable. In 2001, Roy was at his best once again. leading the Avalanche to a second Stanley Cup championship and Roy's fourth. He was also awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy for a remarkable third time.
Aside from the Stanley Cup championships, the Vezina Trophies and the Conn Smythe Trophies, Roy went on to collect five Jennings Trophies. During the 2002-03 season, Patrick Roy became the first goaltender to play in 1,000 NHL games. On May 28th, 2003, Patrick Roy retired as a player as the NHL's all-time winningest goaltender with 551 career wins.
Following his playing career, Patrick purchased the QMJHL's Quebec Remparts. Placing himself as coach, the competitive veteran led the organization to the 2006 Memorial Cup title.