May 4, 2011

Cornell Hockey Legend Ken Dryden ’69 Loses Parliament Seat

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Cornell hockey legend and six-time Stanley Cup champion Ken Dryden ’69 lost his seat in the Canadian Parliament on Monday after serving York Centre, a district that includes parts of Toronto, for three terms as a member of the Canadian Liberal Party. Dryden was defeated by Mark Adler, a member of Canada’s Conservative Party, who won the historically liberal district by a 14 percent margin.

Dryden said he was not sure what he would do in the aftermath of the election but was grateful for having the opportunity to serve.

“I got into politics seven years ago to try to do something useful,” Dryden told The Toronto Star Tuesday. “I hope to do something useful next.”

While it is unclear what he will do next, Dryden has already accomplished much, inspiring a generation of Cornellians with his achievements on and off the ice.

Amanda Mazzotta ’12, the goalie for the women’s hockey team, called Dryden the perfect example of a student-athlete.

“For females, specifically, it’s cool to see [what Dryden has accomplished], since we don’t have the NHL like the guys do — for most male hockey players playing college hockey, the next goal is to play pro,” she said. “We don’t have that option to make a living playing pro hockey, so the academic part and doing something great in our lives is important, and seeing Ken Dryden being successful doing something other than hockey is important.”

Andy Iles ’14, goaltender of the men’s hockey team, agreed.

“I think that he went on to have unbelievable success that is almost impossible to mimic,” Iles said. “He set the standard to aspire to have success like him. Recently, and in hockey history, there’s been that kind of pattern that each player is trying to accomplish the same success as the one before him.”

In addition to serving in parliament, Dryden, who majored in history at Cornell, also worked as a lawyer and penned an autobiography. His reputation as a great goalie — Dryden carried Cornell to three consecutive ECAC Hockey championships — is not what he is may be most remember for by Cornellians, said Doug Derraugh ’91, head coach of the women’s hockey team.

“There are great athletes here who have gone on to do great things that are unrelated to ice hockey,” Derraugh said. “That’s what the Cornell University experience is about — developing as a person so that you can succeed when you venture to leave Cornell.”

Prof. David Holmberg ’70, anthropology, who spent his time at Cornell while Dryden was playing, agreed.

“I suppose in reflection, the things I have come to respect most in Ken Dryden are that he is precisely the model of the student-athlete,” Holmberg said. “Yes, he went on to play brilliantly for Montreal, but he finished his degree and when he retired from the NHL he could go on to a legal and political career.  I hope today’s players follow his example and finish up their studies before going to the pros.”

Original Author: Lauren Ritter