His achievements and exploits made him the best, his legacy made him the greatest…
While it is not an openly voiced fact, the truth is in almost every sport, goalkeepers are not the most honored or talked about players. They may be, sometimes, for a match or so, then it’s over.
Not everybody was convinced Gianluigi Buffon, a player who has won a record 12 goalkeeper of the year titles, the only goalkeeper to win Italian football’s player of the year award and won the world cup, deserved to be runner-up for best player in the world, The Ballon d’Or…
When it comes to Patrick Roy, there is no obfuscation as to why there would be a debate about him deserving the most coveted and prestigious accolades in the sport of hockey, and we can count on five fingers the people who may think to oppose the crowning of Roy as the best goalie of all time in the game of hockey.
In a career that spanned the better part of 20 years, Roy won everything any hockey player with GOAT ambitions could ever dream to win and most importantly, he won off the rink by showing kids what it means to be a goalie.
Born in Quebec, Patrick Roy had only one wish since his seventh birthday, to be a hockey goalie. From an early age, he knew his path and started his journey to prove to the world he was right, with a local club, the Saint-Foy Gouverneurs. By the time he became a professional in the AHL, with the Sherbrook Canadiens, he had won the QAAA championship with the Gouverneurs and played three years for the Granby Bisons. He will be drafted 51st overall by the Montreal Canadiens in 1984, and will go on to win 10 of his 13 games for the Sherbrook Canadiens, leading them to a Calder Cup championship.
The doors to greatness will open the following year where regular season stints with the Montreal Canadiens would end him a starting spot come playoff time, and the slender 20-year old would shine brightest, with a 15-5 record to lead the Canadiens to a shock Stanley Cup win. There was no debate about who deserved the Conn Smythe trophy, and when the Canadiens would once again lift the Stanley Cup in 1993, the honor would once again be indisputable as Roy would claim the scalp of the noisy Nordiques, Sabres, and Islanders, en route to tying the record for playoff win streak (11), before dispatching the Kings in the finals.
A salty relationship with Mike Tremblay will force Roy out of Montreal, and over to the Colorado Avalanche, but not before he had won three Vezina trophies, four William M. Jennings trophies, two Stanley Cups and two Conn Symthe trophies.
It’ll be more of victory and history as Roy would become the first hockey player and goalie to win a third Conn Smythe trophy, and so, in different decades, after leading the Avalanche to Stanley Cup glory in 2000/2001. He would add another Jennings Trophy for good measure.
“Saint Patrick” will end his career after 20 years, being the first goalie to win over 500 games, play over 1000 NHL games, and is still the goalie with the most playoff appearances (247) and wins (151).
Patrick Roy is a born winner and after his playing days, winning the Jack Adams award in 2014 with his beloved Avalanche, and the Memorial Cup with his Quebec Remparts in 2006, showed that he not only played the game, he was also a student and master of it.
The Canadiens and Avalanche have both retired his #33 while the Granby Bisons retired his #30, and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006, after being inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Hall of Fame, in 2004.
Nobody did it better, maybe nobody will.