By: Rebecca Werez (@beccaaaxo39)
Happy St. Patty’s Day!
Folks, we’ve done it. We’ve found our pot of gold at the end of the rainbow… Nolan Patrick. The real reason for this holiday.
Oh, you thought we were celebrating the real St. Patrick? With leprechauns and four-leaf clovers? And the removal of snakes from Ireland?
I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but the Philadelphia Flyers’ first round, second overall draft pick is MUCH more important than that guy. Let me tell you why.
Patty comes from a hockey family, and a well known one at that. His father, Steve Patrick, was selected by the Buffalo Sabres with the No. 20 pick of the 1980 NHL Draft and played from ’80-’86. Nolan’s uncle, James Patrick, was chosen by the Rangers with the No. 9 pick of the 1981 NHL Draft and played 1,280 games, 22nd all-time among NHL defensemen. Nolan’s older sister Madison plays hockey for the University of British Columbia, while his younger sister Aimee plays hockey for St. Mary’s Academy in Winnipeg. All three siblings wear the number 19.
Now back to our golden baby boy. At just 19 years old, the 6’2 center has racked up 23 points (10 goals and 13 assists) in 62 games. It took him three games to notch his first point, with an assist to Provorov, and four games to score his first NHL goal, against the Nashville Predators.
But, truth be told, the season started off a little rocky for the rookie. On October 24th, nine games into the season, Patrick was pulled from the game after a hit from Anaheim Ducks forward Chris Wanger. The result? A concussion and nine missed games.
As always, Flyers fans feared for the worst. It’s what we do best. The hockey gods hate us. This is the end. Things were too good to be true.
And then on November 16th Nolan James Patrick, a Winnipeg native, returned to the lineup against the… wait for it… Winnipeg Jets. Unsurprisingly the game, for Patrick, was uneventful. But it didn’t matter because he was back on the ice, back in our hearts, and back to kicking ass.
Things have been going pretty well for Nolan since then. He got the Flyers their first shootout win of the season against the Coyotes, went on a five-game point streak, became the Simmonds 2.0 on the Power Play when we needed him the most, and stick lifted Mitch Marner to score against the Maple Leafs. And don’t forget about his no-look, between the legs pass to get the assist on Voracek’s goal against the Bruins. Oh, or the no-look, between the legs assist to Weise against the Panthers. Wow, is there a pattern forming? I think I can speak for all Flyers fans when I say I sure hope so.
Or, how about that one time he smiled? Or that hair flip? You know exactly which one I’m talking about. Or how his friendship with TK makes my heart smile? Or his adorably rosy cheeks? Yikes, I’m not supposed to talk about them. Fangirling aside, Patty has earned the love he’s getting. He’s proven himself time and time again, on and off the ice.
The bottom line is, the kid is alright. He’s becoming more comfortable with every passing game and practice, and it’s showing. His speed and physicality are improving, his puck skills are shining, and his hockey sense makes him a huge asset. He’s found a home here in Philadelphia, at the Wells Fargo Center. Whether he’s being mentored on the ice by our vets like Voracek and Simmonds or he’s bonding with the other kids, playing video games at the hotel room with TK and Lindbolm or being absolutely adored by Flyers fans, Nolan Patrick is succeeding.
No matter the case, we’re in for one hell of a ride with Nolan Patrick on our team, and I cannot wait to see it unfold. I guess you could say it’s the luck of the Irish. Or that he’s just insanely talented. Maybe it’s a little bit of both.
Photo: Amanda (@orangeandsass)