"Prince Hal" is widely regarded as one of the best receivers in the history of the CFL. Patterson played 14 years in the CFL, and in 9 of those season he averaged more than 20 yards a catch. He broke in with Montreal in 1954 and and combined with the great arm of Sam "The Rifle" Etcheverry to make a very potent combination. In 1954, in his rookie season Patterson had 29 catches for 709 yards and an excellent 24.4 yard average. He upped his receptions to 44 in 1955 and then to a phenomenal 88 for 1914 yards and 21.6 yard average in 1956. Those numbers are even more impressive when you consider it was only a 14 game season. That remains to this day, when the game has been transformed much more into a passing game, as one of the great years by a receiver in CFL history. Injuries dogged Patterson in the next two years as he managed only 18 and 12 catches, but he rebounded in 1960, his last season in Montreal for 61 catches and 1121 yards. The trading of Patterson to Hamilton was like many things in Patterson's career, one of the biggest shocks in CFL history. Injuries, age, and a less pass orientated offense in Hamilton prevented Patterson from once more reaching the heights he scaled in Montreal, but he still won All-Canadian honours in 1962, 1963 and 1964(the first years they were selected) with avarage yards per reception over 20 yards in each of those three seasons.
Any biography of Patterson would not be complete without pointing out he as an outstanding two way player early in his career. Patterson recorded 27 interceptions in his first six season, including 8 in his rookie seasn and 7 in 1955 which led the East. In fact Patterson was an East defensive All-Star in his first 5 seasons from 1954 to 1958. Offensively, he had 8 East All-Star selections in 1956, 1957, 1960 and 1962 through 1966*. As mentioned previously, Patterson also had three All-Canadian selections (1962-64) and was named the Outstanding Player in the CFL for his magnificant 1956 season. Patterson made it to three Grey Cups with the Montreal Alouettes, unfortunately losing all three time (1954-56) to Edmonton. With Hamilton, the Tiger-Cats went to the Gray Cup ins six of his seven season. Patterson suffered two more Grey Cup losses in his first two seasons in Hamilton (1961 and 1962) to Winnipeg before finally hitting the win column over BC in 1963. Hamilton played BC again in the 1964 game, but this time the Lions came away with the win. Hamilton then won the cup in 1965 and 1967 in Patterson's last season. Patterson finished his career with 460 catches for 9473 yards and 64 receiving touchdowns.
Love of football runs in the Patterson family as his nephew Gary Patterson is the Head Coach at Texas Christian University (TCU). In 2008, Patterson's #75 was retired by the Alouettes during Grey Cup festivities. Hal Patterson was named to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1971. Hal Patterson passed away on November 21, 2011.
*The source for the all-star selections is the 2007 CFL Facts & Figures - the 1965 listing is probably not correct as Patterson only played 4 games with 3 catches.
Fumbles were not tracked in the East until 1964.
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