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Ken Dryden

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The Honourable
Ken Dryden
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1983
Dryden in October 2023
Born (1947-08-08) August 8, 1947 (age 76)
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Height 6 ft 4 in (193 cm)
Weight 205 lb (93 kg; 14 st 9 lb)
Position Goaltender
Caught Left
Played for Montreal Canadiens
National team  Canada
NHL draft 14th overall, 1964
Boston Bruins
Playing career 1970–1979
Minister of Social Development
In office
July 20, 2004 – February 5, 2006
Prime MinisterPaul Martin
Preceded byLiza Frulla
Succeeded byDiane Finley
Member of Parliament
for York Centre
In office
June 28, 2004 – May 1, 2011
Preceded byArt Eggleton
Succeeded byMark Adler
Personal details
Political partyLiberal
SpouseLynda Dryden
Alma materCornell University (BA)
McGill University (LLB)

Kenneth Wayne Dryden PC OC (born August 8, 1947) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey goaltender, politician, lawyer, businessman, and author. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada[1] and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. He was a Liberal Member of Parliament from 2004 to 2011 and Minister of Social Development from 2004 to 2006. In 2017, the league counted him in history's 100 Greatest NHL Players.[2][3] He received the Order of Hockey in Canada in 2020.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Dryden was born in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1947.[5] His parents were Murray Dryden (1911–2004) and Margaret Adelia Campbell (1912–1985). He has a sister, Judy, and a brother, Dave, who was also an NHL goaltender. Dryden was raised in Islington, Ontario, then a suburb of Toronto. He played with the Etobicoke Indians of the Metro Junior B Hockey League as well as Humber Valley Packers of the Metro Toronto Hockey League.

Dryden was drafted fourteenth overall by the Boston Bruins in the 1964 NHL Amateur Draft. Days later, June 28,[6] Boston traded Dryden, along with Alex Campbell, to the Montreal Canadiens for Paul Reid and Guy Allen. Dryden was told by his agent that he had been drafted by the Canadiens and did not find out until the mid-1970s that he had been drafted by the Bruins.[7]

Rather than play for the Canadiens in 1964, Dryden pursued a B.A. degree in History at Cornell University, where he also played hockey until his graduation in 1969. He backstopped the Cornell Big Red to the 1967 National Collegiate Athletic Association championship and to three consecutive ECAC tournament championships, and won 76 of his 81 varsity starts. At Cornell, he was a member of the Quill and Dagger society.[8] He also was a member of the Canadian amateur national team at the 1969 World Ice Hockey Championships tournament in Stockholm.

Dryden took a break from the NHL for the 1973–74 season to article for a Toronto law firm, and to earn an LL.B. degree he received from McGill University in 1973.[9][10] During this time Dryden interned with Ralph Nader's Public Citizen organization. Inspired by Nader's call in Action for a Change for establishing Public Interest Research Group's, Dryden tried to establish the Ontario Public Interest Research Group in the Province of Ontario.[11]

Dryden's jersey number 1 was retired by the Cornell Big Red on February 25, 2010; along with Joe Nieuwendyk, he is one of only two players to have their numbers retired by Cornell's hockey program.[12]

Playing career[edit]

Dryden made his NHL debut on Sunday March 14, 1971 against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh. The Canadiens won the game 5-1, and the only goal scored against Ken was by a player named John Stewart. Later, on March 20, 1971, he played in a home game against his brother Dave Dryden, a fellow backup goaltender for Buffalo Sabres, when Canadiens starter Rogie Vachon suffered an injury;[13] this still stands, as of 2021, as the only time a pair of brothers faced against each other as goaltenders. He was called up from the minors late in the season and played only six regular-season games, but rang up 1.65 goals-against average. This earned him the starting goaltending job for the playoffs ahead of veteran Rogie Vachon, and he helped the Canadiens to win the Stanley Cup. He also won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs. He helped the Habs win five more Stanley Cups in 1973, 1976, 1977, 1978, and 1979.

The following year Dryden won the Calder Trophy as the rookie of the year; he was not eligible for it the previous year because he did not play enough regular-season games. He is the only player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy before winning the rookie of the year award, and the only goaltender to win both the Conn Smythe and the Stanley Cup before losing a regular-season game.[3] In the autumn of 1972 Dryden played for Team Canada in the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet national ice hockey team.

A replica Ken Dryden jersey at the Montreal Canadiens locker room display in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Dryden played from 1971 to 1979, with a break during the entire 1973–74 season; he was unhappy with 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 announced on September 14, 1973, that he was joining the Toronto law firm of Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt as a legal clerk for the year, for $135 a week. He skipped training camp and held out that season. The Canadiens still had a good year, 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.[14] Dryden used that year to fulfill the requirements for his law degree at McGill and article for a law firm. He retired for the last time on July 9, 1979.[15]

Compared to those of most other great hockey players, Dryden's NHL career was very short: just over seven full seasons. Thus he did not amass record totals in most statistical categories. As he played all his years with a dynasty and retired before he passed his prime, his statistical percentages are unparalleled. His regular-season totals include a 74.3 winning percentage, a 2.24 goals-against average, a 92.2 save percentage, 46 shutouts, and 258 wins, only 57 losses and 74 ties in just 397 NHL games. He won the Vezina Trophy five times as the goaltender on the team who allowed the fewest goals and in the same years was selected as a First Team All-Star. In 1998, he was ranked number 25 on The Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players, a remarkable achievement for a player with a comparatively brief career.

At 6 feet, 4 inches, Dryden was so tall that during stoppages in play he struck what became his trademark pose: leaning upon his stick. He was known as the "four-storey goalie," and was once referred to as "that thieving giraffe" by Boston Bruins superstar Phil Esposito, in reference to Dryden's skill and height. Unbeknownst to him, his pose was exactly the same as the one struck by fellow Canadiens goaltender, Georges Vézina, 60 years prior.[16]

Dryden was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983, as soon as he was eligible. His jersey number 29 was retired by the Canadiens on January 29, 2007. He was inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.[17]

Post playing[edit]


Dryden wrote one book during his hockey career: Face-Off at the Summit. It was a diary about Team Canada in the Canada vs. Soviet Union series of 1972. The book has been out of print for many years.

After retiring from hockey Dryden wrote several more books. The Game was a commercial and critical success, and was nominated for a Governor General's Award in 1983. His next book, Home Game: Hockey and Life in Canada (1990), 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). His fifth book, In School: Our Kids, Our Teachers, Our Classrooms (1995), written with Roy MacGregor, was about Canada’s educational system. Becoming Canada (2010) argued for a new definition of Canada and its unique place in the world.

In 2019, he published Scotty: A Hockey Life Like No Other, his biography of his Canadiens coach Scotty Bowman. Dryden says at the beginning that he 'needed to write this book,' because 'Scotty had lived a truly unique life. He has experienced almost everything in hockey, up close, for the best part of a century - and his is a life that no on else will live again. It's a life that had to be captured. And it needs to be captured now, because time is moving on.' [18]

Feeling that Bowman was 'too practical and focused' to be a natural storyteller, Dryden instead asked Bowman to think like a coach and select the 8 greatest teams of all time (but only one per dynasty) and explain what he thought about them, how we coach against them but also what was happening in his life at that time and through that process, Bowman's story would be told.[18]


A statue of Dryden in his signature resting position in Saint-Laurent, Quebec.

Dryden worked as a television hockey commentator at the 1980, 1984 and 1988 Winter Olympics. He served as a colour commentator with play-by-play man Al Michaels for ABC's coverage of the "Miracle on Ice." Immediately before Mike Eruzione's game-winning goal for the US, Dryden expressed his concern that the team was "depending a little bit too much" on goaltender Jim Craig after Craig had just made "too many good saves."

Sports executive[edit]

In 1997, Dryden was hired as president of the Toronto Maple Leafs by minority owner Larry Tanenbaum. Pat Quinn became head coach in 1998, and there were reports that the two men had a frosty relationship. A few months after joining the Leafs, Quinn became general manager, a move thought by some to preempt Dryden from hiring former Canadiens teammate Bob Gainey.[14]

Dryden spoke at the Open Ice Summit in 1999, to discuss improvements needed to ice hockey in Canada. He wanted delegates to accept that progress made at the lower levels and off the ice was important in achieving international results.[19] He was cautious that change would come slowly and be costly, but felt the summit was an important step in making progress.[20] He also urged for the end to persistent abuse of on-ice officials, or Canada would lose 10,000 referees each year. As a result of the summit, Hockey Canada started to educate on the importance of respect for game officials.[21]

On August 29, 2003, with the hiring of John Ferguson, Jr. as general manager, 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. 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. This was described by commentators as "sitting outside the loop", as Dryden did not report directly to Leafs ownership.[14][22] He stayed on until 2004 when he resigned to enter politics.


In January 2012, Dryden was appointed a "Special Visitor" at his alma mater McGill University's Institute for the Study of Canada. He taught a Canadian Studies course entitled "Thinking the Future to Make the Future," which focused on issues facing Canada in the future and possible solutions to them.[23]

Political career[edit]

Dryden joined the Liberal Party of Canada and ran for the House of Commons in the 2004 federal election. He was selected by party leader and Prime Minister Paul Martin as a "star candidate" in the Toronto riding of York Centre, then considered a safe Liberal riding.[24]

Dryden was elected by a margin of over 11,000 votes.[25] He was named to Cabinet as Minister of Social Development.[26] 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." Ambrose made the remarks after Dryden commented on a poll that analyzed child care choices by Canadian families.[27] Dryden won generally favourable reviews for his performance in Cabinet.

Dryden was re-elected in the 2006 federal election, while the Liberals were defeated and Paul Martin resigned the party leadership.[28] Interim party and opposition leader Bill Graham named Dryden to his shadow cabinet as health critic.[29]

Dryden's margin of victory in York Centre dwindled in the 2006 and 2008 elections.[30] In the 2011 federal election, he focused his efforts on his own re-election instead of campaigning for other candidates as he did in the past, and he received a visit from former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. Still, Dryden lost his seat to Conservative candidate Mark Adler by nearly 6,000 votes.[24][31]

Leadership bid[edit]

Dryden at the Rise Up for Canada Rally in April 2011.

On April 28, 2006, Dryden announced 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.[32]

A poll[33] found that Dryden's potential pool of support exceeded that of his opponents, due mainly to his former NHL career. His fundraising fell well below that of top leadership contenders (Michael Ignatieff, Gerard Kennedy, Stéphane Dion and Bob Rae). A variety of media pundits criticized his 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.

At the convention, Dryden came in fifth 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 endorsed Stéphane Dion, who went on to win the leadership.

According to Elections Canada filings, as of 2013 Dryden's campaign still owed $225,000.[34]

Personal life[edit]

Ken is the son of Margaret and Murray Dryden. Dryden and his wife Lynda have two children and four grandchildren.[35] He is a first cousin, twice removed, of Murray Murdoch, another former NHL player and a longtime coach of Yale University's hockey team. There is another distant relationship with the Apps family. His older brother Dave also played in the NHL and the WHA as a goalie, from 1961 to 1980.



  • Face-Off at the Summit (1973)
  • The Game (1983)
  • Home Game: Hockey and Life in Canada (with Roy MacGregor, 1990)
  • In School: Our Kids, Our Teachers, Our Classrooms (with Roy MacGregor, 1995)
  • The Moved and the Shaken (1993)
  • Becoming Canada (2010)
  • Game Change (2017)[36]
  • Scotty: A Hockey Life Like No Other (2019)

Awards and honors[edit]

Dryden's hockey awards and honours are numerous and include:

Award Year Remark
All-ECAC First Team 1966–67, 1967–68, 1968–69
AHCA East All-American 1966–67, 1967–68, 1968–69
ECAC Hockey All-Tournament First Team 1967, 1968, 1969
NCAA All-Tournament First Team 1967 [37]
NCAA All-Tournament Second Team 1968, 1969 [37]
Conn Smythe Trophy winner 1971
Calder Memorial Trophy winner 1972
Vezina Trophy winner 1973, 1976, 1977*, 1978*, 1979* * Shared with Michel Larocque.
Stanley Cup champion 1971, 1973, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979
Playing NHL All-Star Games. 1972, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978
Selected to NHL First All-Star Team 1973, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979.
Selected to NHL Second All-Star Team 1972
Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame 1983
Number 25 on The Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players 1998
Number 29 was retired by the Montreal Canadiens January 29, 2007
His number 1 was retired by the Cornell Big Red February 25, 2010 One of only two players to have his number retired by the Cornell hockey program;
the other being Joe Nieuwendyk.
Recipient of the Order of Hockey in Canada 2020 [4]

Dryden does not have a substantive doctorate, but has received honorary doctoral degrees from several universities,[38] including:

Honorary degree University Year Remark
Honorary LL.D. degree University of British Columbia 1992 [39]
Honorary LL.D. degree York University 1996 [40]
Honorary LL.D. degree University of Windsor 1997 [41]
Honorary D.Univ. degree University of Ottawa 2000 [42]
Honorary LL.D. degree Ryerson University 2013 [43]
Honorary LL.D. degree McGill University 2018 [44]
Honorary LL.D. degree University of Winnipeg 2018 [45]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
1963–64 Humber Valley Packers MTHL
1964–65 Etobicoke Indians MetJHL
1966–67 Cornell University ECAC 27 26 0 1 1646 40 4 1.46 .945
1967–68 Cornell University ECAC 29 25 2 0 1620 41 6 1.52 .938
1968–69 Cornell University ECAC 27 25 2 0 1578 47 3 1.79 .936
1970–71 Montreal Voyageurs AHL 33 16 7 8 1899 84 3 2.68
1970–71 Montreal Canadiens NHL 6 6 0 0 327 9 0 1.65 .957 20 12 8 1221 61 0 3.00 .914
1971–72 Montreal Canadiens NHL 64 39 8 15 3800 142 8 2.24 .930 6 2 4 360 17 0 2.83 .911
1972–73 Montreal Canadiens NHL 54 33 7 13 3165 119 6 2.26 .926 17 12 5 1039 50 1 2.89 .908
1974–75 Montreal Canadiens NHL 56 30 9 16 3320 149 4 2.69 .906 11 6 5 688 29 2 2.53 .916
1975–76 Montreal Canadiens NHL 62 42 10 8 3580 121 8 2.03 .927 13 12 1 780 25 1 1.92 .929
1976–77 Montreal Canadiens NHL 56 41 6 8 3275 117 10 2.14 .920 14 12 2 849 22 4 1.55 .932
1977–78 Montreal Canadiens NHL 52 37 7 7 3071 105 5 2.05 .921 15 12 3 919 29 2 1.89 .920
1978–79 Montreal Canadiens NHL 47 30 10 7 2814 108 5 2.30 .909 16 12 4 990 41 0 2.48 .900
NHL totals 397 258 57 74 23,330 870 46 2.24 .922 112 80 32 6,846 274 10 2.40 .915


Year Team Event GP W L T MIN GA SO GAA
1969 Canada WC 2 1 1 0 120 4 1 2.00
1972 Canada SS 4 2 2 0 240 19 0 4.75
Senior totals 6 3 3 0 360 23 1 3.83

"Dryden's stats". The Goaltender Home Page. Retrieved 2017-08-07.


  1. ^ "Appointments to the Order of Canada". Governor General of Canada. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  2. ^ "100 Greatest NHL Players". NHL.com. January 27, 2017. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  3. ^ a b NHL (2017-03-22), Ken Dryden won Conn Smythe before he won Calder, archived from the original on 2021-12-12, retrieved 2017-04-25
  4. ^ a b "Class of 2020 unveiled for Order of Hockey in Canada". Hockey Canada. 2020-02-11. Retrieved 2020-02-11.
  5. ^ Cole, Stephen (2006). The Canadian Hockey Atlas. Doubleday Canada. ISBN 978-0-385-66093-8.
  6. ^ "Trader Sam's Greatest Trades". HabsWorld. 15 August 2007. Retrieved February 28, 2015.
  7. ^ "Canadiens blog English translation of Canoe article". Sportsblog Inc. August 21, 2009. Archived from the original on August 25, 2009.
  8. ^ The Cornell Daily Sun, 9 May 1968
  9. ^ "Dryden Quits Hockey for Law Clerk Job". The New York Times. 15 September 1973. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  10. ^ Notable alumni - website of McGill University
  11. ^ Karen Farbridge; Peter Cameron (Summer 1998). "PIRG Power" (PDF). Alternatives Journal.
  12. ^ Zeisse, Kevin (February 25, 2010). "Big Red to retire Dryden, Nieuwendyk's hockey numbers". Cornell Chronicle. Retrieved May 2, 2023.
  13. ^ SwissHabs (2012-04-27), Legends of hockey : Ken Dryden, retrieved 2019-03-27
  14. ^ a b c "McGill Athletics". Archived from the original on 2008-05-15. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
  15. ^ "From the archives: Dryden announces retirement". Globe & Mail. 10 July 1979. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
  16. ^ SwissHabs (2012-04-27), Legends of hockey : Ken Dryden, retrieved 2019-03-27
  17. ^ "Ken Dryden". oshof.ca. Ontario Sports Hall of Fame. 2011. Archived from the original on 2018-07-23. Retrieved 2018-04-10.
  18. ^ a b Dryden, Ken (2019). The Game. Penguin Random House. ISBN 978-0-7710-2750-5.
  19. ^ McKinley, Michael (2014). It's Our Game: Celebrating 100 Years Of Hockey Canada. Toronto, Ontario: Viking. pp. 314–316. ISBN 978-0-670-06817-3.
  20. ^ Colbourn, Glen (August 28, 1999). "11 ideas from Open summit". Medicine Hat News. Medicine Hat, Alberta. p. 9.Free access icon
  21. ^ Beacon, Bill (November 5, 1999). "CHA wants fans to layoff referees". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. p. 50.Free access icon
  22. ^ "McGill Athletics". Archived from the original on 2006-02-08. Retrieved 2006-12-05.
  23. ^ Lee, Cynthia (January 17, 2012). "Q & A: Ken Dryden thinks the future". McGill Reporter. Retrieved May 2, 2023.
  24. ^ a b Moloney, Paul. "Dryden goes down to defeat". The Toronto Star.
  25. ^ "Election results...riding by riding". The Globe and Mail. June 29, 2004. p. A14.
  26. ^ "Who does what in the new federal cabinet". The Hamilton Spectator. July 21, 2004. p. A10.
  27. ^ Dugas, Dan (February 16, 2005). "A Verbal Slapshot; MP tells child-care minister Ken Dryden: 'We don't need old white guys telling us what to do'". The Hamilton Spectator. p. A10.
  28. ^ "Election results...riding by riding". The Globe and Mail. January 24, 2006. p. A16.
  29. ^ O'Neill, Juliet (February 23, 2006). "Six Liberals named to shadow cabinet". The Vancouver Sun. p. A6.
  30. ^ "Hockey legend Ken Dryden loses bid for fourth term". CTV News. May 2, 2011.
  31. ^ "Israel a key election issue in York Centre". CBC News. April 25, 2011.
  32. ^ "And then there were 10 ... Ken Dryden is in". CBC News. April 28, 2006.
  33. ^ September 2006 poll
  34. ^ "Liberal leadership candidates remain off the hook for outstanding debts". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. July 30, 2013.
  35. ^ "Ken Dryden". Penguin Random House Canada. Retrieved November 30, 2017.
  36. ^ Review: Ken Dryden’s Game Change is a deep piece of investigative journalism The Globe and Mail, 20 October 2017
  37. ^ a b "NCAA Frozen Four Records" (PDF). NCAA.org. Retrieved 2013-06-19.
  38. ^ Biography: Ken Dryden - website of the Library and Archives Canada of the Government of Canada
  39. ^ The Title and Degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) conferred at congregation, May 26, 1992 - website of the University of British Columbia
  40. ^ Honorary Degree Recipients - website of the York University
  41. ^ Honorary degrees conferred (Chronological) - website of the University of Windsor
  42. ^ Office of the president: Honorary Doctorates - Ken Dryden - website of the University of Ottawa
  43. ^ Ryerson Honorary Doctorates and Fellowships - website of the Ryerson University
  44. ^ Naomi Azrieli, Ken Dryden to receive honorary degrees News - website of the McGill University
  45. ^ Honorary Doctorate: Ken Dryden - website of the University of Winnipeg

External links[edit]

27th Ministry – Cabinet of Paul Martin
Cabinet post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
Liza Frulla Minister of Social Development
position abolished
Awards and achievements
Preceded by ECAC Hockey Most Outstanding Player in Tournament
1968, 1969
Succeeded by
Preceded by ECAC Hockey Player of the Year
Succeeded by
Preceded by Winner of the Calder Memorial Trophy
Succeeded by
Preceded by Winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy
Succeeded by
Preceded by Winner of the Vezina Trophy
Succeeded by
Preceded by Winner of the Vezina Trophy
with Michel Larocque (1977, 1978, 1979)

1976, 1977, 1978, 1979
Succeeded by
Sporting positions
Preceded by NHLPA President
Succeeded by
Preceded by General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs
Succeeded by