Last week I wrote about former NFL great Lynn Swann mulling over a run for Pennsylvania governor. Pro athletes running for office isn’t all that unusual here in the United States. Former NFL all-time leading receiver Steve Largent served several terms in Congress and Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning is in the baseball hall of fame, for example. Meanwhile, in Canada, a national sports legend might be taking aim at the top spot pretty soon. Hockey hall of famer Ken Dryden—considered by some the best goalie in NHL history not named Patrick Roy—is being talked up as potential prime minister material. Dryden, who backstopped the Montreal Canadians dynasty of the 1970s, was elected to parliament in 2004 and now serves as Canada’s minister of social development, overseeing the agency responsible for the needs of seniors, children, and the disabled. Despite only being in politics for 15 months, he has already gained a reputation as a political intellectual more interested in policy making than grandstanding. He has been put in charge of crafting Canada’s national childcare plan, a pet project of the Liberal party for the past decade. On the downside, Dryden speaks in chapters rather than sound bites, one Canadian political observer has said (sounds a bit like Jack Kemp to me), which doesn’t play well on television.
Dryden himself has remained coy about his political ambitions beyond his current post, but does admit he had wanted to be in politics since age 12 or 13. Dryden earned a law degree while playing for the Canadians.