Two Inducted Into Adirondack Hockey Hall of Fame
Former Adirondack Red Wing Joe Paterson hung up his skates 23 years ago, but the honors keep coming in.
Last summer, the Glen Lake resident got a Stanley Cup ring from the Los Angeles Kings, the team he scouts for.
On Sunday, March 15, Paterson and long-time off-ice official Doug Neely, of Queensbury, took their places as the newest members of the Adirondack Hockey Hall of Fame.
“Any time you get put in a Hall of Fame it’s special, especially in the Adirondack area,” Paterson said. “A lot of good hockey people have come through here.”
A Toronto native, he bought property in the Lake George region while still playing with the Wings in the early 1980s. “Coming from a large city, this was such a nice area,” Paterson said. “I really enjoy the outdoors. I would always spend summers back here after the season.”
Eventually, he decided to settle in the area year-round.
Paterson spent parts of four years playing for Adirondack including its 1981-82 Calder Cup campaign, but was called up to the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings and missed most of the AHL playoffs. Later he was a Red Wings assistant coach from 1992-95.
However, one of his most rewarding achievements came in 2010 when he was named head coach of the Adirondack Phantoms. Paterson stepped in at midseason and quickly turned around a demoralized last-place team that had lost 11 straight games, and put it back on a winning track.
“The mindset of the team was used to losing,” Paterson said. “I got them to start taking one shift at a time and not worry about the results; just do things the right way.”
He was the only head coach with a winning record (62-51-12) during the Phantoms’ five seasons in Glens Falls.
“Eventually the end results came,” Paterson said. “It was an enjoyable year actually.”
Neely has been an off-ice official for as long as there’s been pro hockey in Glens Falls. He’s been working games since Day One, when the Adirondack Red Wings began play in Glens Falls in October 1979.
“At the time I was working with the city Rec Department,” Neely said. “We were involved with Ned Harkness when they were building the Civic Center. I wanted to get involved; he said, I’ve got just the job for you.”
Born in Rock Hill, S.C., Neely moved north to Pennsylvania at a young age and quickly become a Philadelphia Flyers fan.
That gives Neely and Paterson a connection as new Hall of Famers, as the Phantoms team that Paterson coached was a Flyers affiliate.
“I couldn’t have been more surprised,” an elated Neely said after learning about his election. “I’m completely shocked. I didn’t know about it until someone pointed it out on the message board up there.”
As head off-ice official, Neely oversees a team of 30 workers that handles all kinds of jobs. Some track stats from perches high above the stands, while others serve as goal judges behind the glass at ice level.
“My favorite job is down there in the middle — penalty timekeeper,” Neely said. “But everybody loves being in the penalty box. You get to talk to players. It’s a lot of fun.”
Of course, he’s had quite a few memorable experiences. One night he was working a game when the Civic Center power went off.
“It was the middle of a game and it was suddenly just completely dark, and completely quiet,” Neely said. “For about three or four seconds nobody said a word. It took close to a minute before the emergency lights started to come on.”
He’ll never forget working the Red Wings’ four Calder Cup championships. “The biggest thrill was when we went down and got sprayed with champagne; a lot of fun,” he said. “Good memories.”