Originally created 11/07/02

Trainer's streak is at 1,799 games



Players, coaches and general managers have come and gone, but one constant has remained for the Augusta Lynx.

Trainer Brian Patafie has been on the bench for all 294 games since the team's inaugural season. In fact, he hasn't missed a game in his 24-year hockey career, making Friday's contest against the Charlotte Checkers consecutive game No. 1,800.

"I've seen a lot of bad hockey," Patafie joked. "I've also worked with a lot of great players and coaches."

For Patafie, it all began in Utica, N.Y., in the rough-and-tumble Eastern Hockey League.

Along the way, Patafie, 47, has made stops in his hometown of Ottawa, Canada, with the major junior Ottawa 67s; in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick; Salt Lake City and Newfoundland before reaching the pinnacle, spending 2 1/2 seasons in the National Hockey League with the Calgary Flames.

The list of notable coaches Patafie has worked with includes the fiery John Brophy, the Wheeling Nailers coach who has more than 1,000 career wins and Phoenix Coyotes coach Bobby Francis, the NHL's coach of the year last season.

With the Lynx, Patafie has been more than just a trainer. He handles equipment, team housing, travel and immigration. In the past, he's turned down offers to return to the NHL and the American Hockey League, citing his commitment to the organization and fondness for Augusta.

"Brian fits in with the guys and is always there to keep us loose and give us something to laugh about during tough times," Lynx forward Josh St. Louis said. "He's also good at his job. He's professional about everything he does."

ON THE BLOCK: The Lynx are trying to trade defenseman Likit Andersson after a rift with the coaches this week.

Andersson did not practice Monday after complaining of a sore groin, and again asked out of practice Tuesday despite being cleared to return to the ice. The coaches then issued an ultimatum: practice or go home. Andersson chose the latter, and appears to have played his final game for Augusta.

WILKIE'S KIDS: Lynx assistant coach David Wilkie is laying the groundwork for a charity foundation he calls "Wonder Kids."

Wilkie plans to purchase one of the civic center luxury boxes, which he will use to host handicapped and underprivileged children at Lynx games.

The former NHL defenseman said he hopes to raise $37,500 by holding a raffle for a new car. The money raised will cover the cost of the vehicle and the luxury box.

"It's in the works, and it's basically something I want to do to give back to the community," Wilkie said.

ONE-TIMERS: Defenseman Garry Toor, who returned to the lineup two weeks ago after missing the first five games with a sprained knee, aggravated the injury last weekend and will not play this weekend. ... The Lynx Locker Room Report weekly TV shows airs tonight at 8:30 on Comcast. ... Special USA Veterans Day jerseys will be worn by the Lynx this weekend in games against Charlotte and Columbia. The jerseys will be auctioned for charity following Saturday's game. ... World-renowned juggler Albert Lucas, who more than 30 years ago was the youngest performer ever to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show, will perform during Friday's intermissions.