DESCRIBED AS AN INSTANT HIT when he joined the Melbourne Demons at 15 in 1969, he was a hard-working, fierce defenseman, awarded Most Promising Player that year, and then Best Defenseman in 1970, the Club's first ever A-grade Premiership. After the 1973 season, he took a few years off then returned in 1977-8 for the Club's second Premiership and also with the Oakleigh Aces, playing a dominant role alongside some of the best players in the Victorian league. The Goodall Cup was dominated by that state in the seventies, seven of ten championships, and he represented in 1977, 1978 and 1979, winning twice (1978, 1979).
After 125 games with the Demons, he moved to the Monarchs as playing-coach for three more years and 75 games, winning their Best Defenseman award. In 1991-92, he played a few games for Hakoah for a career total 221 games. He finished just outside the group of one hundred players on most games in the Victorian league. Later he returned to the Demons where he has twice won the Best Clubman Award (1996, 1999) and has been selected for their Diamond Jubilee Team (2007). Well-regarded as a local and state Junior coach through the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, he was appointed Head Coach of the National Youth Team in Toronto in December 1995, including pre-tournament preparation at the Teen Ranch training camp for the Barrie Minor Hockey Tournament.
It was in these years he helped educate and mold a generation of young hockey players; there he built-up an inimitable brand of motivational coaching that was to win him both respect and notoriety. "He was so important to the development of hundreds of young up-and-coming hockey players," says Elgin Luke, a former national coaching director, "with both the Victorian Ice Hockey Development Council and the Australian Ice Hockey Development Council. Paul was such a strong minded, enthusiastic person to have around and a leader of men. Without that, we could not have accomplished what we did through the The National Coaching Council and The National Coaching Accreditation Program".
He served nine seasons as coach of the Melbourne Ice in the Australian Ice Hockey League, crafting a team with such belief in itself, it redefined the possible. Wizard of the extraordinary “3Peat” — an AIHL-record three straight Goodall Cups (2010, '11, '12) — he was a beacon in the dark in the sport's struggle to emerge from the underground. For seven relentless seasons, 2006 to 2012, he led his Club to either the top or second place, breaking points records in 2006 and 2011, and so becoming the most successful regular season team of his era.
His contributions underpinned the transformation of his club into an organization capable of raising the bar throughout the league, season after season. He won AIHL Coach of the Year in 2010, retired as coach in 2012, and the following season became an ATC Productions' commentator of hockey live streams and Fox Sports broadcasts. He was made a Life Member of the Demons in 2007; the Victorian association in 2009; and the Melbourne Ice in 2012 (and 2016).
1. Demons stats and biographical notes courtesy Paul Rice.
Ross Carpenter, 'Watson, Paul "Jaffa" (abt 1954 - )', Legends of Australian Ice, Melbourne, Australia, http://icelegendsaustralia.com/bio-watson.html, accessed online .