It’s not everyday a former standout OHL goaltender quits their hockey career before it even started, however that appears to be the case for Jake Patterson. The London Knights goaltender currently playing in the OHL has decided it is time for him to hang-up skates instead of becoming a back-up again.
Doubts surround Patterson’s future between the crease for the Knights, started when the team went out and acquired insurance in the form of 19 year-old Michael Giugovaz. Last year, Patterson spent most of the season playing second fiddle to Anthony Stolarz who took over during the post-season and Memorial Cup. Stolarz will be playing in the AHL next season which would have opened the door for the Patterson, but the Knights weren’t sold and decided a back-up plan was necessary. However, Patterson appears to believe he’ll be riding the pine again and isn’t about to do that.
"“When he called me the other night, he basically had already made his mind he was going to hang ’em up. The timing with Giugovaz being acquired, maybe he said to himself, ‘Here we go again’,” They (the Knights) went out and got insurance and the insurance caused Jake to say, ‘No, thanks’. ~ Todd Reynolds, Jake Patterson’s agent"
For Patterson, the thought of having to battle for the crease again, potentially ending up as the back-up for the fourth straight season appeared to be too much. He hadn’t done much to solidify himself as a starting goaltender and is likely years away from any permanent NHL gigs, but quitting hockey before you get a big chance is a tough decision. However, it appears the management in London may have helped ease his decision. GM Mark Hunter had some interesting things to say regarding the Jake Patterson decision when news broke;
"“We’re just waiting to see what happens and that’s all. If something happens, I’ll try to fix the problem. That’s my responsibility, I’ll try to figure something out and we’ll just react to it. We’ll see what Giugovaz is about, see what he can do, and actually, the Parsons kid looks good, so we’ll go from there.”"
It appears Knights GM doesn’t seem all that broken up about losing Jake Patterson. In fact it looks like he’s ready to move on with their new 19 year-old and 16 year-old rookie Tyler Parsons. Not exactly the kind of things you would want your GM to say if you were thinking of walking away would you?
Patterson has played for three straight Memorial Cup teams, won the OHL Championship and won the final three games of the 2013 OHL finals. However, it appears his goaltending days are behind him, as he’s ready to step away from both the London Knights and the OHL.
Should Jake Patterson return to the Knights, this will be his last year of OHL eligibility and make him the fourth overager battling to make the team- when only 3 are allowed. It’s a tough decision, but right now it appears the goaltender is tired of being jerked around by the London Knights as he waits