Saturday, August 8, 2009

Happy Birthday to a Canadiens Legend

ken_dryden A Happy Birthday to Canadiens Hall of Fame Goaltender Ken Dryden.

I’ll be brutally honest. This man is the reason I became a Montreal Canadiens fan.

At the age of 5, I one day flipped the channel from CBC-Toronto to CBC-Peterborough, which carried Canadiens games in the day, and saw the coolest goalie mask ever.


Ken Dryden playing for Cornell University

I drew that bullseye mask as a kid thousands of times. I also realized that his team won far more than they lost, and would see them take four straight Stanley Cups from 1976 to 1979.

Dryden had already won two Cups, by the time I was three, after making his debut on March 13, 1971.

To think that if I hadn’t turned that dial, or even another goalie was in net that night, I may still have been subjected to the Toronto Maple Leafs and suffered oh so much.

vs_armee_rouge Ken Dryden and Russian legend Vladislav Tretiak, Dec 31 1975

Dryden retired, after the 1979 season, with six Stanley Cups, a Conn Smythe Trophy, Calder Trophy, five Vezina Trophies (three shared), five First Team and one Second Team all-star selections, 258 wins and a career 2.24 goals against average.

All that came amidst a year off, over a contract dispute, to complete his law degree. Oh and of course he was the also part of Team Canada in the 1972 Summit Series.

As a kid, hockey news in the summer wasn’t as readily available as it is 30 years later. It wasn’t until I opened a pack of hockey cards that I saw the “Now retired” lettering printed on his card and realized he wasn’t coming back.

Dryden would go on to author what is considered the best hockey book ever written, “The Game”, in 1983 and be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame the same year.


His #29 jersey would be retired by the Montreal Canadiens on January 29, 2007.


His post career resume is by far is one of the most impressive ever for a former NHL player.

An author of five books, a commentator for three Winter Olympics (including the 1980 Team USA Miracle on Ice), lawyer, business man, active politician, one-time president of the Toronto Maple Leafs for two years…… OK so he’s not perfect.

Happy Birthday Mr. Dryden and many more!

Another great birthday tribute comes from my HabsEyesOnthePrize colleague Francis Bouchard.


Yves said...

Ken Dryden.

One thing that amazes me really with some guys playing 15+ years in the NHL that he seemed to retire so young. He wasn't quite 32 when he retired!

Kevin aka "yathehabsrule" said...

The Sandy Koufax of hockey....Great numbers in a short career.

He contemplated retirement after the '72-73 season at 26 when his contract negotiations were going nowhere.

Something of interest was that he did not report for the Bruins and was traded to Montreal. I beleive his brother Dave had a similar issue early in his career with the Chicago Blackhawks..

Must be a family thing ;)

dishonest john said...

I had a similar path to the habs as I started to watch hockey in the early seventies and being patriotic found myself cheering for the "Canadien" team against whichever American team it happened to be in the final. How lucky was I that it was Mtl winning cups at that time and not the leafs!