Local Hockey Stars – Charlie Patterson’s Skates
by Shannon Baxter
This is the third in a series of articles that will focus on Dartmouth’s Starr Manufacturing Company. Established as a nail factory in 1861, Starr Manufacturing soon began making its famous Starr skates and selling millions of pairs around the world from 1863 to 1939. The plant also played an important role in the sale of the first hockey sticks and excelled in other areas such as the production of the golden gates to Halifax’s Point Pleasant Park.
These skate blades, manufactured by Starr and known as a “Primo” style, come from the Patterson family. Many of the Patterson’s were heavily involved in local Dartmouth sports, including ice skating and hockey. These skates are believed to have belonged to Charles ‘Charlie’ E. Patterson. He and his brother Alexander ‘Sandy’ Patterson were both amateur skaters and members of the Chebucto Hockey Team between 1887 and 1894.
Charlie Patterson was on the Chebucto team in 1889 when they competed against a Montreal team for a trophy referred to as “the equivalent of the Stanley Cup[1. Martin, 427]”. Before the event, Charles Patterson raced against Charles Gordon of Montreal in a 3-mile race [2. Martin, 427]. While Charles Patterson led the race until the last mile of the 10th lap, Charles Gordon ended up overtaking him at the last moment and winning the race, Montreal ended up winning both games played against The Chebucto team after this race[3. Martin, 427].
Despite this defeat, both Charlie and Sandy Patterson continued to be adamant skaters and would find success in later competitions. In 1891, the two brothers competed in a Canadian amateur skating championship held in Montreal. Charlie finished second in the one-mile and five-mile contests, while Sandy won fourth in the five-mile[4. Martin, 437]. Sandy Patterson would later tour Europe and was sponsored by the Starr Manufacturing Company[5. Jones and/or Arnie Patterson notes].
William Patterson; the brother of Charlie and “Sandy” was the manager of the old Dartmouth Skating Rink, and also managed the Chebucto Junior Hockey Team in 1898[6. Martin, 465]. William’s son Charlie, known in the hockey and skating circles as “Charlie Jr.” would continue the trend of Patterson skaters. This family’s history of sporting in the Dartmouth area lives on with these skates.
Want to keep reading? Read Shannon’s next article in the Starr series, The Skates of Charles F. Bell, a True Dartmouth Man and previous article here.