Most Canadians love hockey, that’s “for sure,” but few Canadian hockey players have gone on to do so much after their hockey careers as the Montreal Canadiens’ goaltender, Ken Dryden. Good ‘ole #29 isn’t just one of the NHL’s 100 greatest players and a member of the Hockey Hall Fame; he also became a sports executive, commentator, an accomplished lawyer, politician, teacher and author.

Goaltending Runs in the Family

Born in 1947, Dryden grew up in a hockey family. His brother, Dave Dryden, also tended the net in the NHL for several teams. Ken was first drafted in 1964 by the Boston Bruins but was quickly traded to the Montreal Canadiens. The trade happened so fast that it was years before he even knew he had originally been a Bruin. Unlike most NHL players, Dryden deferred his professional hockey career until he completed his bachelor’s degree at Cornell.

Ken’s Remarkable First Season

Ken Dryden’s NHL debut in 1971 was one to remember. In his third NHL appearance on March 20, 1971, he and Dave set the record as the only two brothers in the NHL facing each other in opposing nets. Ken led the Canadians to victory and went on to win that year’s Conn Smythe Trophy and the first of six Stanley Cups. His hockey career was very short compared to other hockey greats-a mere seven full seasons from 1971 to 1979 (he took the 1973-74 season off because of a salary dispute). But, he retired with a laundry list of accomplishments including five-time Vezina Trophy winner in addition to all those Stanley Cups.

The Four-Story Goalie Starts a New Story

Six-foot-four was almost unheard of for a goalie in the 1970s, unlike the Andersens and Darlings of today. So, with his foot perched on his stick in his signature pose, Dryden was dubbed the “Four-Story Goalie.” But after leaving the NHL, he wrote several books, including:

  • The Game
  • Home Game: Hockey and Life in Canada (with Roy MacGregor)
  • The Moved and the Shaken: The Story of One Man’s Life
  • In School: Our Kids, Our Teachers, Our Classrooms (with Roy MacGregor)
  • Becoming Canada

Dryden served as a television commentator for the 1980, 1984 and 1988 Winter Olympics. In 1997, he became president of the Toronto Maple Leafs. In 2004, Dryden put his law degree to use. (Remember that season he took off? He used it to become a lawyer!) He was elected to Parliament and named Minister of Social Development. His political career ended in 2011 when he lost to Mark Adler. In 2012, he began teaching as a “Special Visitor” at McGill and still teaches a course called “Thinking the Future to Make the Future.”

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