By Bill Vilona, Pensacola News Journal
Patrick Knowlton learned how to play ice hockey soon after learning to walk.
Best of all, neither required many steps.
Knowlton, 26, the leading scorer for the Pensacola Ice Flyers, grew up with his family’s “Rink of Dreams” right outside the back door.
His father, Jim, a West Point graduate and now athletic director at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., maintained a family tradition by constructing an ice rink, complete with lights, adjacent to their home. It enabled the five Knowlton brothers to skate, shoot and occasionally scrap well into the frigid winter nights in upstate New York.
“It was unbelievable,” said Knowlton, a left winger and fourth leading scorer in the Southern Professional Hockey League. “My dad was going to grad school at Cornell at the time and he started building rinks each year. His dad did it for him, and that’s how he became so good and he just continued it for us.”
Jim Knowlton played for the Army Black Knights while training to be an officer.