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Kenneth Wayne "Ken" Dryden, PC, MP (born August 8, 1947) is a Canadian politician, lawyer, businessman, author, and former NHL goaltender whose playing career won a place for him in the Hockey Hall of Famemarker. Dryden is married with two children and two grandchildren.


Hockey career

Dryden was born in Hamilton, Ontariomarker, the son of Murray and Margaret Dryden and brother of Dave Dryden, also an NHL goaltender. Dryden was raised in Islington-City Centre West (then just outside Toronto) and drafted fourteenth overall by the Boston Bruins in the 1964 NHL Amateur Draft. Later the same day, Boston traded Dryden to the Montreal Canadiens, along with Alex Campbell, for Paul Reid and Guy Allen, whom the Bruins highly valued. Dryden was actually informed by his agent that he had been drafted by the Canadiens, and did not find out he had originally been a Bruin until the mid-1970s.

Rather than play in Montrealmarker, Dryden pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree at Cornell Universitymarker, where he also played hockey until his graduation in 1969. At Cornell, Dryden led his team, the Cornell Big Red, to the 1967 National Collegiate Athletic Association championship and three consecutive ECAC tournament championships. Dryden's Cornell Hockey Jersey Number will be retired by Cornell in a ceremony in February 2010. His coach was Ned Harkness, a legendary coach of hockey and lacrosse. He also was a member of the Canadian amateur national team at the 1969 Ice Hockey World Championship tournament in Stockholmmarker.

Dryden made his NHL debut in 1971 for the Canadiens, playing only six regular-season games but sporting a minuscule 1.65 goals-against average. This earned him the number 1 goalie job for the playoffs ahead of veteran All-Star Rogie Vachon, and the Canadiens rode their hot young goalie to win the Stanley Cup. He then became the backbone of five more Stanley Cup-winning teams in 1973, 1976, 1977, 1978, and 1979. During that first playoff season, Dryden won the Conn Smythe Trophy (1971), as the playoffs' most valuable player. The following year Dryden won the Calder Trophy, 1972, as the Rookie of the year because the previous year he did not play enough regular season games to become eligible. He remains the only NHL player to ever win the Conn Smythe Trophy before winning the rookie of the year award. In the autumn of 1972 Dryden played for Team Canada in the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet national ice hockey team.

Dryden played from 1971 to 1979, except for the 1973–74 season, when he was unhappy about the contract that the Canadiens offered him, which he considered less than his market worth, given that he had won the Stanley Cup and Vezina Trophy. He skipped training camp and held out that season, incurring the wrath of Canadiens General Manager Sam Pollock whose previous stars had usually signed for the amount that he had offered. The Canadiens still had a good season, going 45-24-9, but lost in the first round of the playoffs to the New York Rangers in six games. The Canadiens allowed 56 more goals in the 1973–74 season than they had the year before with Dryden. [36017] Dryden used that year to fulfill the requirements for his law degree at McGillmarker and article for a law firm. He retired following the 1978-79 season before he reached the age of 32.

Compared to most other goaltending greats, Dryden's NHL career was extremely short: only seven full seasons. Therefore, statistically he did not amass record totals in most categories. As he played all his years with a dynasty and retired before he could pass his prime, his statistical percentages are unparalleled. His regular season totals include a .790 winning percentage, a 2.24 goals against average, and, most incredibly, losing only 57 games while recording 46 shutouts in 397 total games. No other modern goaltender has ever been even remotely close to earning nearly as many shutouts as recording losing games. He won the Vezina Trophy five times for allowing the fewest goals and in the same years was selected as a First Team All-Star. Despite the comparative brevity of his career, in 1998, he was ranked number 25 on The Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players.

Dryden was so tall, at 6 foot 4 inches (193 cm), (and even taller on skates) that he was often seen during stoppages in play in what became his trademark pose: resting with his blocker propped up by his goalie stick which was angled to its maximum possible height. One of his nicknames was the "four-story goalie".

Ken Dryden was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Famemarker in 1983. His jersey number, 29, was retired by the Canadiens on January 29, 2007.


Dryden earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history at Cornell Universitymarker's Department of History and a degree in Law at McGill Universitymarker. He has received honorary doctoral degrees from the University of Ottawamarker, University of Windsormarker, York Universitymarker, McMaster Universitymarker, Saint Mary’s Universitymarker, Niagara Universitymarker and University of British Columbiamarker. At Cornell, he was a member of the Sigma Phi Society and vice-president of the Quill and Dagger society.

Writing career

Book cover of The Game
Dryden wrote one little-known book during his hockey career: Face-Off at the Summit. This was written in diary form and outlined the Canadian experience in the famous Canada vs. Soviet Union series of 1972. The book is difficult to find and long out of print. It is a fairly standard account, unlike The Game which frequently digresses into non-hockey related information.

After retiring from hockey Dryden became a dedicated author for a time. His book The Game (1983, ISBN 0-470-83355-6) was a commercial and critical success being nominated for a Governor General's Award. His next book, Home Game: Hockey and Life in Canada (1990, ISBN 0-7710-2872-5), written with Roy MacGregor, was developed into an award-winning Canadian Broadcasting Corporation six-part documentary series for television. His fourth book was The moved and the shaken: The story of one man's life (1993, ISBN 0-670-82170-5 ). His fifth book, In School: Our Kids, Our Teachers, Our Classrooms (1995, ISBN 0-7710-2869-5), written with Roy MacGregor, was about Canada’s education system.


He served as Ontario's first Youth Commissioner from 1984 to 1986. Dryden worked as a television hockey commentator at the 1980, 1984 and 1988 Winter Olympics. Dryden served as a colour commentator alongside play-by-play man Al Michaels for the American Broadcasting Company's coverage of the famous Miracle on Ice.


Minority owner Larry Tanenbaum hired Dryden to become the president of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey club in 1997. Pat Quinn became head coach in 1998, and the two men reportedly had a frosty relationship. A few months after joining the Leafs, Quinn took on the General Manager position, reportedly to preempt Dryden from hiring his preferred GM which was former Habs teammate Bob Gainey[36018].

On August 29, 2003, with the hiring of John Ferguson, Jr. as GM, there was a major management shakeup. Majority owner Steve Stavro was bought out by the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and he stepped down as chairman in favour of Larry Tanenbaum. Quinn continued as head coach but was relieved of GM duties. Dryden's position was abolished, in favour of having both the Leafs and Raptors managers reporting directly to MLSE President and CEO Richard Peddie. Dryden was shuffled to the less important role of vice-chairman and given a spot on MLSE's board of directors, which was described by commentators as "sitting outside the loop" as he did not report directly to Leafs ownership.[36019][36020] He stayed on until 2004 when he resigned to enter politics.

Political career

Dryden joined the Liberal Party of Canada and ran for the House of Commons in the federal election held in June 2004. Dryden had been selected by Prime Minister Paul Martin as a "star candidate" in what is considered a safe Liberal riding. Earlier, on May 13, 2004, incumbent Art Eggleton announced that he would not run for re-election, paving the way for Dryden to contest the Toronto riding of York Centre. Eggleton, who was later appointed to the Senate, denied that the party asked him to step aside.[36021]

While campaigning, a letter sent to Dryden by Ya’acov Brosh, Consul-General of Israel in Toronto was put in Dryden's campaign literature, allegedly without Brosh's permission. Brosh worried that the letter would be misconstrued as political interference. The Consul-General did give permission to "circulate" the letter but insisted that it was not intended to be any kind of endorsement. The letter was sent to Dryden thanking him for his participation in a ceremony commemorating the 10th anniversary of the assassination of former Israelmarker Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Dryden was elected to Parliament and was named to Cabinet as Minister of Social Development. He made headlines on February 16, 2005, as the target of a remark by Conservative Member of Parliament Rona Ambrose who said about Dryden, "working women want to make their own choices, we don't need old white guys telling us what to do." Notwithstanding the critiques from across the partisan aisle, Dryden won generally favourable reviews for his performance in Cabinet.

On November 5, 2005, Dryden as Minister of Social Development obtained early-learning and child care deals with all 10 provinces. Dryden achieves 10 child care agreements

He was re-elected in the 2006 federal election. The Liberals were defeated and Paul Martin resigned the party leadership. Interim party and opposition leader Bill Graham named Dryden to his shadow cabinet as health critic.

Leadership bid

On April 28, 2006, Dryden confirmed rumours [36022] that he would run for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada, which would be choosing a successor to Paul Martin at a convention in Montreal on December 2, 2006. A variety of media pundits criticized Dryden's ponderous speaking style and limited French. Supporters argued that few people were strongly opposed to him and that if he ran he could attract more support on later ballots as a consensus candidate.

A September 2006 poll ([36023]) found that Dryden's potential pool of support exceeded that of his opponents, due mainly to his former NHL career. However, his fundraising efforts left him well behind the top tier of leadership contenders (Michael Ignatieff, Gerard Kennedy, Stéphane Dion and Bob Rae). Despite initially being a very high profile candidate for leadership, his organizational efforts were disappointing, placing him in the bottom rank of remaining candidates. After gaining less than 5% of first round ballots for the Liberal leadership, Dryden was one of the "bottom four" candidates that had been written off by the media as unlikely to win the Liberal leadership.

In an interview with the Toronto Star on November 13, 2006, Dryden expressed concern that United States Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean should not be speaking at the Liberal Party of Canada's national convention in Montrealmarker on November 29 out of fear that a foreigner would put the party out of touch with most Canadians.

Dryden came in 5th place on the first ballot with 238 delegates 4.9% of the vote. On the second ballot, he came in last place with 219 votes (4.7%) and was eliminated. He initially threw his support to Bob Rae, but after Rae was eliminated in the third ballot and released all of his delegates, Dryden went over to Stéphane Dion, who went on to win the leadership.

Career statistics

Season Team League GP W L T MIN GA SO GAA SV%
1963–64 Humber Valley Packers THL 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1964–65 Etobicoke Indians MetJHL 55
1965–66 Cornell Big Red ECAC
1966–67 Cornell Big Red ECAC 27 26 0 1 1646 77 4 1.46
1967–68 Cornell Big Red ECAC 29 25 2 0 1620 23 6 1.52
1968–69 Cornell Big Red ECAC 27 25 2 0 1578 147 3 1.79
1968–69 Canada WEC-A 2 1 1 120 4 1 2.00
1969–70 Canada Nat-Tm ?
1970–71 Montreal Voyageurs AHL 33 16 7 8 3 2.68
1970–71 Montreal Canadiens NHL 6 6 0 0 327 9 1.65 .957
1971–72 Montreal Canadiens NHL 64 39 8 15 3800 142 8 2.24
1972–73 Canada Summit-72 4 2 2 0 0 4.75
1972–73 Montreal Canadiens NHL 54 33 7 13 3165 119 6 2.26
1974–75 Montreal Canadiens NHL 41 22 10 8 2363 129 4 3.28 .906
1975–76 Montreal Canadiens NHL 62 42 10 8 3580 121 8 2.03 .927
1976–77 Montreal Canadiens NHL 56 41 6 8 3275 117 10 2.14
1977–78 Montreal Canadiens NHL 52 37 7 7 3071 105 5 2.05
1978–79 Montreal Canadiens NHL 47 30 10 7 2814 108 5 2.30
NHL totals 397 258 57 74 25,251 954 46 2.24


  1. Canadiens blog English translation of Canoe article
  2. Jewish Tribune article about Dryden election brochure
  3. Canadians 'Appalled' By Howard Dean - article - Accessed November 18, 2006.

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