Hockey is in the blood of Nolan Patrick.
Patrick, a 15-year-old Westwood resident, plays centre for the Winnipeg Thrashers in the Manitoba AAA Midget League. He’s been playing hockey since he was three years old, and his interest in the sport can be linked to the fact that he is related to a couple of big-time athletes.
"My dad and uncle both played, so they helped me out," Patrick said.
Patrick’s father, Steve Patrick, played in the NHL for the Buffalo Sabres, New York Rangers and Quebec Nordiques.
His uncle, James Patrick, was an NHL defenceman for the Rangers, Sabres, Calgary Flames and Hartford Whalers. He’s now an assistant coach with the Dallas Stars.
Patrick’s grandfather was Steve Patrick Sr., a former Winnipeg Blue Bomber. who was a two-time all-star — in 1958 and 1959 — was voted the Bombers’ top lineman in 1958, and was the team’s Schenley Award nominee as best Canadian in 1957.
It seems Patrick has a lot to live up to, and he’s doing just that.
Last year, Nolan was drafted fourth overall in the WHL bantam draft by the Brandon Wheat Kings. This year, as a rookie at the midget level, he led the Thrashers in scored, notching 63 points (33 goals, 30 assists) in just 39 games, good enough for third overall in the league.
The Thrashers finished third in regular season play, behind Brandon and the Winnipeg Wild. After knocking off Kenora three games to one in the first round of the playoffs, the team begins a best-of-five semi-final series against the Wild on Friday, Feb. 28.
Patrick again led his team in scoring against Kenora, recording a goal and five assists for six points.
"It’s been going pretty good so far," he said.