Vancouver brothers sculpted game of hockey 100 years before Canucks vied for cup

VANCOUVER - Roberto Luongo gets the credit, but it's actually thanks to two Vancouver brothers that the superstar goaltender drops to his knees to make the game-changing save.

Without Lester and Frank Patrick, overjoyed fans wouldn't even be cheering on the Stanley Cup-hopeful Canucks in a best-of series of playoffs.

The duo made vital contributions to the game of hockey between 1911 and 1926 when they built, owned and managed the Pacific Coast Hockey Association.

Among nearly two-dozen innovations that remain today include the blueline — which led to forward passing — jersey numbers, six players on the ice at a time, substitution of players and tracking of assists.

Jason Beck, curator for the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame, says the West was uncharted territory for hockey, and it was that blank canvas that allowed the brothers to play their new ideas.

He says the pair weren't just hockey legends for great on-ice play, they made hard, cold cash selling programs listing names of players with their numbers and boosted ticket sales with the playoffs' "second season."