Patrick Rissmiller ’97


This school Hall of Famer went on to a career in the NHL and Europe

During his time at Williston, Patrick Rissmiller led the ice hockey team to a 23-4 record, the most wins in school history. He was named an All-New England selection and NEPSAC West Senior All-Star, and in 2013 he was inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame. After playing for the College of the Holy Cross (he is a 2010 inductee into that school’s Hall of Fame as well), he played in the National Hockey League for the San Jose Sharks, New York Rangers, Atlanta Thrashers, and Florida Panthers. He recently returned from two years playing in Italy for Ritten-Renon. Of his 13 seasons of professional ice hockey, he says, “I didn’t think I would be playing as long as I have.” He is currently a player development coach for the New Jersey Devils.

How did you feel on your first day at Williston?

My family is from Belmont, Massachusetts, which seemed a world away when I got dropped off. I was 16 or 17. I vividly remember thinking, “What am I doing? What did I get myself into?” I unpacked, and then I didn’t have much time because I played soccer and was right onto the field.

What did you try at Williston that surprised you?

I did Couch’s photography class, which was fun. That was something I never would have done if I had stayed in public school. I was a baseball player, but the lacrosse coach convinced me to pick up lacrosse.
I never played the sport and I didn’t know the rules. So the first game was kind of interesting. I ended up playing for a year in college. I think when you’re in a school like Williston, you’re more willing to try things.

How did it feel to be inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame?

It was great. My older brother, who was a post-grad, got the ball rolling. To get in with all those good athletes was quite an honor. I’m not the type of person who would toot my own horn, but it’s always nice to get the recognition.

What did you enjoy the most about playing hockey in Italy?

Its beautiful scenery. We traveled a lot: Rome, Innsbruck, Salzburg, Paris. I played twice a week, so it’s a little lower key than it is here. It’s fun, and I was home all the time. It’s a very simple, easy life over there.

Have you gotten your 2-year-old daughter on the ice yet?

I have, in Italy. She would hold my hand and walk around the ice. I wouldn’t say she loved it, but she grew to like it. Being a hockey player, I would love to see my kids play. But it was just fun to have her out there and know that she enjoyed it.