The tradition of goaltending in the Riggin family was first started by father Dennis back in the early 1950s. While backstopping for the Windsor Spitfires, he won the Dave Pinkney Trophy for allowing the fewest goals-against in the OHA. The family made history when his son, Pat, won the same award in 1977 while skating for the London Knights. It was the first time a father/son combination had their names engraved on a major OHA trophy.
After completing three campaigns with the Knights, the younger Riggin signed as an underager with the WHA's Birmingham Bulls where he played for one season. He then made the leap into the NHL with the Atlanta Flames who had drafted him at the close of the 1978-79 season.
Riggin soon made himself noticeable with his quick reflexes and self-assurance. He was also unique in the sense that on a physical level, he looked so un-heroic. Standing only 5' 9", he had round shoulders and a portly build with an unruly shock of hair on top. He was also known to carry a chip on his shoulder that was often felt by the other goaltenders on his team. He was particularly competitive about being the team's starter.
With such a disposition, it's no wonder he was often unhappy with the Flames. The club preferred to maintain a three-goaltender rotation with Dan Bouchard, Reggie Lemelin, and Riggin. Eventually, after the club settled in Calgary the trio, was reduced to a duo of Bouchard and Riggin. But the two had sizeable egos necessitating the departure of one half of the collective. Riggin got the call, being dispatched to the Washington Capitals in 1982.
From the day he arrived in Washington, Riggin experienced a roller coaster career. In the fall of 1983, he was the number-one stopper -- although his stopping fell short in supply as his club went 0-7 to start the season. Al Jensen took over the starting spot and played so well that he was chosen to play in the All-Star game. After the extravaganza, however, he hurt his back while lifting weights. Riggin stepped back in and was stellar in his performance. Between the two netminders, they secured the Jennings Trophy for allowing the fewest goals against in the league.
During the next campaign, Riggin remained number-one, winning a personal-high 28 games. But then he fell ill just before the post season. As a result, Jensen stepped in to carry the playoff load against the Islanders.
In 1985-86, Riggin got off to a slow start. Jensen was again given the nod while Riggin was traded to the Boston Bruins for Pete Peeters. Riggin initially performed well in Beantown, but his edge quickly slipped. By 1987 he was toiling in the AHL with the Moncton Golden Flames for a brief time before resurfacing with the Pittsburgh Penguins. His success with the Pens was limited, however. After playing parts of two seasons, he was sent to play for the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the IHL where he retired in 1988.