A couple days ago, I wrote Part 1 of a series of pieces on Dave Dryden, former goalie and current driving force behind Sleeping Children Around the World (SCAW). My original goal was an online piece for Global Traveler (which ran Wednesday), but I had so much material that I had to share it on this site.
Dave went from stopping hockey pucks to helping children around the world sleep better through SCAW, the organization his father had started in 1970. Last year, SCAW achieved the original goal of one million bedkits distributed. Having passed that milestone, I asked Dryden what was next.
Now that we have achieved the one million bedkits we have spent much time this year looking forward through a Strategic Planning process. What we have learned is that it is more than just about setting another target number. Yes, it is important that we reach another million children, but it is even more important HOW we do this. We encourage giving from the heart, not from a guilty conscience. If we can be a trusted conduit for donors who really want to help kids, then we will feel that we are doing our best.
Dryden told me about previous bedkit recipients coming out to meet the SCAW group many years later to thank them again and how awesome it feels to see their happiness and love. Dryden's genuine passion comes through clearly when he describes how this sort of validation and motivation really "turns his crank".
I couldn't let Dryden go before I asked him about his career. For his favorite memories, he mentioned playing against his brother, his first game (when he was called from the stands to fill in for Gump Worsley), playing with Bobby Hull and Wayne Gretzky and playing in an All-Star game with Gordie Howe against the Russians.
He also was instrumental in improving goalie equipment. Dryden said, "I loved inventing and improving my 'tools'. So I got a great thrill from redesigning my gloves, pads and of course designing the first cage-mask combination."
Dryden said his hockey career was more than he could have expected. He also said his teaching career was fulfilling and satisfying (although demanding). After teaching, when he returned to hockey as an Injury and Equipment Consultant, he found that interesting. Finally, his involvement with SCAW has been a thrill. Clearly, Dryden is a special man who loves what he does and gives it his heart.
Dryden says he still receives hockey cards (for autograph requests) through the mail and is amazed by it. He is also amused by the many pictures (some of which he has never seen before) sent to him. Recently, his grandchildren uncovered a gem on YouTube, Wayne Gretzky's first goal...right past Edmonton Oilers goalie Dave Dryden!
Also on YouTube is the rest of my interview with Dave Dryden. We talked about the Blackhawks recent Stanley Cup win, a bit more on SCAW and of course, Wayne Gretzky's first goal.
I really would like to thank Dave Dryden for his time and consideration. It was a thrill speaking to him. I enjoyed following his playing career (even after he left my beloved Blackhawks) and collecting his hockey cards (many of which he later signed (through the mail) for me. It has been a pleasure learning about Sleeping Children Around the World. Dryden is a fascinating man. Please, check out SCAW when you have a chance. It truly was my honor doing this.