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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

KEN DRYDEN

Inducted in 1984, 2005

Member Details

Date of Birth: August 8, 1947
Place of Birth: Hamilton, Ontario
Sport: Ice Hockey
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1970-79

Career record of 258-57-74

Won Vezina Trophy three times

Won six Stanley Cups in eight years

1970

The Conn Smythe Trophy

1971

Won the Calder Trophy

Honoured Member KEN DRYDEN
Inspire

Story

The career of goalie Ken Dryden lasted just eight years, barely a blink in the modern era, but he lost only 57 of 397 regular-season games he played and just 32 more of 112 playoff games, making him one of the most successful goalies in NHL history. Dryden attended Cornell University in the mid-1960s looking toward a career in law. But Montreal acquired his drafting rights and in 1969 he was selected to play for Canada at the World Championship. With these events, his focus, at least in the near future, shifted. Dryden started the 1970-71 season with the Montreal Voyageurs, but toward the end of the regular season he was called up to play for the Habs for a few games to get a taste of life in the NHL. He played six games, won them all, and allowed just nine goals, impressive enough to convince coach Al MacNeil to make the youngster the starter for the playoffs. Dryden made his mark instantly, stopping Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, and the rest of the top-scoring Boston Bruins to eliminate the previous year's Cup champions. The Habs went on to defeat Minnesota and Chicago to win a most improbable Cup, and Dryden won the Conn Smythe Trophy even before he was eligible to win the Calder Trophy. The next year, 1971-72, he led the league with 39 wins and played a league best 64 games, and did, indeed, win the Calder Trophy. In the fall of 1972, he was named one of the two starting goalies for Canada in the Summit Series, and although he was not always at his best, he was in goal the night of September 28, 1972, when Paul Henderson scored his historic, series-winning goal in the final minute. That event kick-started Dryden's '72-'73 season, and he again led the league in wins (33) as well as goals-against average (2.26), and led the Canadiens to another Stanley Cup win. Buoyed by his play, he demanded a better contract from the team, and when management balked, Dryden returned to law school to finish his studies. The next year, he and the team were able to work out a deal, and Dryden was back in the nets for the next five years. The last four of those proved to be nothing but one Stanley Cup win after another as the Habs used speed and skill to crush the brawling Philadelphia Flyers and bring quality and excitement back to the game. Dryden and his backup, Michel Larocque, won the Vezina Trophy the last three years, and by the time he retired Dryden had a miniscule GAA of just 2.24. He won six Cups in eight years, but by 1979, he had lost interest in the game. Just 31 years old, he retired having accomplished as much as he could have dreamed.


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