By Doug Kennedy
Pat Riggin is being inducted into the Don Brankley London Knights Wall of Fame.
Brankley was a really popular trainer for the London Knights for a long time. The players loved him and I have read many nice stories about him over the last 40 years.
Brankley had his own London Knight Wall of Fame in his trainer’s room since the mid-1990s in the old London Gardens. He passed away four years ago.
Riggin remembers when he was playing in Birmingham in the WHA as a 19-year-old, when Brankley would write him letters and keep him informed about what was new in the hockey world around London.
Riggin started his junior hockey as a 14-year-old playing in the western Junior B league. His first year, they did not win many games but Riggin was facing a lot of shots each night. Rob Ramage and Brad Marsh were a couple of his teammates in Junior B.
His second year of Junior B, Riggin’s team, the London Glencoe Squires, defeated my St. Mary’s Junior B team in six games in the western Junior B final. My teammates and I were happy the next year when those three went on to the London Knights. The next year, our St. Mary’s team would win the league championship (all-Ontario champs also).
Riggin’s brother, Larry, was already a member of the London Knights when he joined the team.
Riggin always says his dad, Dennis, was his biggest influence growing up as a goalie. Back in these years, there was no goalie coach at any level of hockey. Coaches basically told goalies to figure it out and stop the puck.
He led the Knights to their first OHL final in 1976-77, when they lost to Ottawa in the final. Riggin got picked up to play with Ottawa in the Memorial Cup championship in Vancouver. Ottawa lost the first game and much to his surprise, Brian Kilrea came to him and told him he was starting the next game. Riggin was named top goalie in the Memorial Cup, but lost in the final game to New Westminster.
That year was a great preview of his soon to come 10 year NHL career. One highlight of his NHL career was sharing the William Jennings trophy for the best goals against in 1983-84, with the Washington Capitals.
Riggin has always said he has had two homes all his life. One in London and one in Kincardine. Congrats on being recognized for your solid junior career with the London Knights. Being from St.Marys, it was a lot of fun going to those playoff games at the London Gardens.