A Toronto sports columnist, in plugging Ken Dryden’s best-selling book “Scotty”, pointed out that the Hall of Fame goaltender doesn’t speak in short or simple sentences.
The old joke is that if you ask the Cornell University graduate, who picked up a law degree at McGill while playing for the Montreal Canadiens, for the time of day he will spend an hour telling you how the watch was made.
I have first-hand experience.
Back in the 1990s Dryden was in town to speak to St. Lawrence High School students. The principal, Brian Gilmour, thought it would be a great idea for me to travel with him when he took Dryden back to the Ottawa airport.
“You will be able to get some great material for your (sports) column,” he said.
Knowing that Dryden was a tough interview, I laid out a plan. Rather than jump into anything to do with hockey I would lead into that subject by asking him about his take on youth unemployment, a subject he had studied and written about. Then a few minutes later I would slip in a hockey question and go from there.
So on Highway 138, around St. Andrew’s West, after some small talk between Gilmour, who was driving his Volvo, and Dryden, in the front passenger seat, I asked about his work studying youth unemployment.
On and on and on he droned. Statistic after statistic. A got the entire 600-page Youth Unemployment thesis, line-by-line. Little of it I understood. Ken Dryden is a super intelligent guy. Je ne suis pas.
He was still reeling of statistics an hour or so later when we pulled in front of the airport. That was it. Interview over!
The best part of the trip came when I was taking his suitcase out of the trunk. Two Air Canada stewardesses walking by recognized the very recognizable Dryden.
“My, there’s Ken Dryden,” said one.
“Yes,” said the other. “I don’t know the other guy but I think he played hockey too.”
When I got back in the car Gilmour was wearing an ear-to-ear grin.
“Hey, great interview,” he laughed.
Well, at least I didn’t ask him for the time.
FLASHBACK This week in 1966 – Full-time school nurses at three city high schools and ways to rivive the dwindling army cadet numbers were discussed by Cornwall Collegiate Institute Board trustees. Cornwall Collegiate and St. Lawrence High School had cadet programs but the numbers had declined to about 300 at each school. General Vanier did not have a cadet program. Trustee George Shaw said the program was worthwhile even if some of the cadets got a haircut. … City Planning Board approved a rezoning change request from city businessman Phil Gignac who wanted to build a motel/service centre on Brookdale Avenue just south of Highway 401. … In a speech at the Irish Club of London (England), Cornwall native and former Stormont MP Lionel Chevrier praised the contribution of the Irish Presentation Brothers in his home town. The Canadian High Commissioner noted that he was taught by the brothers and that they helped shape his life. … Angela Gratton, 17-year-old Grade 12 St. Lawrence High School student, was named Cornwall Centennial Queen. Lise Dumont, 19-year-old receptionist at CFML Radio was runner-up. … The number of city resident collecting welfare declined 4% in November. At the end of the month 1,296 residents were on welfare. …. City council voted to contribute $126 toward the cost of putting on the Santa Claus Parade. The bill for the parade put on by the Triple N Riding Club was $350. Ald. Ralph Carrara criticized local merchants for their lack of financial support. … Marguerite Rose, a 17-year-old resident of Montreal Road was called a “bundle of courage” by fire department officials after she rescued four young children who fled fire that destroyed their Pilon Island home. She used a 13-foot flat bottom boat to paddle to the island and bring the children, all under 12, to the mainland. The parents, Mr. and Mrs. Tom Thompson, were getting groceries in Cornwall when the fire broke out. … A second floor was being added to the Public Works building on Ontario Street. Cost of the project was $42,000. … Guaranty Trust offered 6 1/4% interest on term deposits. … A Jan. 4 swearing in date was set for the new city council: Mayor Nick Kaneb, aldermen Matthew Holden/John Pescod, Ward 6; James Ross/Angelo Lebano, Ward 5; Francis Guindon/George Charlebois, Ward 4; Doug Fawthrop/Doug Warner, Ward 3; Norm Baril/Aurele Clement, Ward 2; Lionel Gauthier/Ralph Carrara/ Ward 1.
TRIVIA This member of the Cornwall Royals scored the tie-breaking gold medal-winning goal (against the Soviet Union) in the 1991 World Junior Championship tournament. It was his only goal of the tournament.
TRIVIA ANSWER In the 1950s city households were served by eight locally-owned dairies who offered home delivery. They were Eastside, Phillips, Canadian, Daisy, Maple Crest, Maple Leaf, Rivermead and Cameron’s.
SPORTS STUFF Paul Proulx became the first winner of the Marcel Morin Memorial Trophy in Cornwall Curling Centre senior men’s play. Proulx won the 26-team draw with a convincing 7-3 victory in the 12-team playoff. The trophy is named in honour of the late Marcel Morin who was one of the senior division’s most dedicated members. Members of Proulx’s rink were third Peter Van Loon, second Ron MacMillan, lead Ted Cole. Tony Greene (third Joe Lemire, second Richard Gadbois sparing for Brian Landry, lead John Leroux) took second place while Wayne Lauber (third Brian Clinton, second Bernie Breton, lead Syd Gardiner) placed third. … When it comes to Marc Crawford’s style of coaching, the father of Leafs’ star Auston Matthews has nothing but good things to say. The senior Matthews told Yahoo Sports that Crawford, who coached an 18-year-old Auston in Switzerland, made a huge contribution to moulding his son’s career.
THIS AND THAT First thing I want to ask the new federal minister responsible for the middle class (and prosperity), “What is middle class, vis-a-vis income?” … The other day somebody blamed Mike Harris for all the problems – education, health care, climate change and just about everything else – Ontario faces. Psst. The Liberals – first Dalton then Kathleen – ran the province for 16 of the last 17 years. … The Tories and NDP say they will not support the Throne Speech. This means the government needs the Bloc support. Does Quebec need another airport?
QUOTED – “Behind every great man is a woman … rolling her eyes.” – Jim Carrey
ONE FINAL THING – Christmas is a time when kids tell Santa what they want and adults pay for it. Deficits are when adults tell the government what they want and their kids will get to pay for it.