Gabbin’ With the Goalie

MP and Former Hab Ken Dryden Talks Hockey, Politics

  • Photo Adam Kovac

Legendary Montreal Canadiens goalie Ken Dryden had hopeful messages for two bodies of consummate survivors during his appearance on Thursday evening.

To Concordia students: don’t be scared of the future.

To the Liberal Party caucus: rebuilding a party, like a team, means getting proud.

“Don’t feel disoriented by the fact that you don’t know where you’re going,” said the Hockey Hall of Fame member and former Liberal MP to the students in the room.

Turning to politics, Dryden broke down the damage plaguing his defeated party. “The Liberals have skipped a step,” he said. “We’ve not had that that moment where, you know, [we have] that rediscovery of ‘Yes, the Liberal Party actually matters.’ But, it’s the Liberal Party at its best that actually matters, and it’s time for us to rediscover our best.”

Billed as a sit-down conversation with the NHL Hall-of-Famer, the evening—which was part of the Homecoming Lecture series—was organized by Concordia University Alumni Relations and sponsored by Abitibi Bowater. Concordia alumnus and CTV Montreal news anchor Mutsumi Takahashi acted as moderator and interviewer.

Though a dominant figure in Habs mythology, the 64-year-old Dryden also pursued a law degree from McGill University while he led Montreal on their epic run of six Stanley cups in eight years. He has also written five non-fiction bestsellers, and was elected as a Liberal to the House of Commons in 2004, representing York Centre in northern Toronto.

Dryden was voted out of his historically Liberal riding this past May, on a wave of dissatisfaction with, and abandonment of, his party. Though Dryden admitted that, as a hockey player, losing did hurt, he maintained that he never let himself be branded by his job.

“I never thought of myself as a hockey player,” he said to his audience in the Hall Building’s D.B. Clarke Theatre. “I never thought of myself as a writer [or] as a politician.

“I was someone who played hockey. I was somebody who was a law student. I was somebody who writes, who was a politician—but I was not those things; those were things that I did.”
Learning and being open to new things is especially significant for students, according to Dryden.

To emphasize, the five-time Vezina Trophy winner polled the audience. Three students in the audience already knew what they wanted to work at following graduation.
Of those over 40 years of age, fewer than 10 ended up working at what they planned to. Dryden said it was the same with him.

“What I hope for you, as students […] is for you to have something on your mind that you’d like to do in your future, but as you move towards that future, keep your mind and eyes wide open […] you’ll find something more interesting along your way.”

This article originally appeared in The Link Volume 32, Issue 04, published September 20, 2011.

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