Everett, MA- Dryden McKay was born to be a goaltender. His father Ross was a collegiate goaltender at the University of Saskatchewan and a professional goaltender in the minors and one NHL game for the Hartford Whalers in 1991. When considering names for a baby boy, Ross and wife noticed some books written by Ross’ favorite player growing: Cornell Big Red and Montreal Canadiens legend Ken Dryden. The two thought it would be a cool name for a boy and stuck with the inspiration.
As a child, McKay naturally fell in love with hockey, crawling into cabinets and batting balls tossed to him down and away, as a goaltender would. From there, the Downers Grove, Il, native got comfortable between the pipes on the ice. He took his junior years to the NAHL for the Corpus Christi IceRays and then two years for the USHL’s Madison Capitals.
Minnesota State Mankato Recruiting Director Todd Knott found McKay and convinced Mavericks Head Coach Mike Hastings to bring McKay to Mankato. The two were rewarded handsomely. In four years starting, McKay became the cornerstone of the Mavericks program. He set the Minnesota State record for wins and the national record for career shutouts, led the Mavs to their first NCAA Tournament win and first Frozen Four.
2022 saw McKay’s crowning individual accomplishment. At the Encore Boston Harbor Resort in Everett, McKay became the 42nd Hobey Baker Award winner as college hockey’s best player. He is the first Maverick to claim the award and only the third goaltender (Robb Stauber- Minnesota/1988 and Ryan Miller- Michigan State/2001) to hoist the nation’s top individual honor.
Maverick watch party liked the Hobey Baker announcement. #HornsUp pic.twitter.com/Dth1YAz9rH
— Dan Myers (@DanMyers) April 8, 2022
“It’s surreal,” said McKay. “You kinda black out when you hear your name and all of a sudden it hits you that you won and you’re up there giving a speech.”
McKay is the first goaltender in 21 years to win the award and had been nominated in the Hobey Hat Trick in 2021 to Wisconsin’s Cole Caulfield. “There’s always going to be someone more highly thought of than you. I just learned to focus on myself and my work ethic and being a good teammate.”
Minnesota’s Ben Meyers and Denver’s Bobby Brink were the two other Finalists.
McKay immediately upon receiving the trophy and being asked about Saturday’s National Championship Game against the Pioneers noted that “Denver’s got a pretty good leading scorer.”
Possibly the most interesting part of the award is that McKay was also nominated for the Mike Richter Award as the Nation’s top goaltender but did not win it. Northeastern’s Devon Levi, also the Tim Taylor Rookie of the Year Award winner, claimed the Richter. It is the first time a player has won the Hobey and not the Richter.
“I try not to think about it,” said McKay. “I was gonna be happy either way. Devon Levi is a great goaltender, he had a great year, and you can’t argue that one.”
On his gaudy win total (113 and a single season scored 38 for this season), 2022 Spencer Penrose Trophy Winner Mike Hastings noted that “Good goaltenders make good coaches. Our program has been elevated by his play, the yep of person he is.”
McKay praised his school, saying “It’s one of the top up and coming programs in the country and we continue to prove it year after year. And I think if it wasn’t m having the success it would be someone else with the way the program is heading under Mike Hastings.”
We're proud of our goalie – Congrats @drydenmckay 🏆 #hobeybaker pic.twitter.com/2n7MtQ5V30
— Minnesota State Hockey (@MinnStMHockey) April 8, 2022
McKay also earned First Team All-American Honors. The other West All Americans were McKay’s teammate Nathan Smith, Western Michigan’s Ronnie Attard, North Dakota’s Jake Sanderson, Michigan’s Matty Beniers, and Denver’s Bobby Brink on the First Team. The West’s Second Team featured Minnesota-Duluth’s Ryan Fanti, Michigan’s Luke Hughes and Owen Power, Western Michigan’s Ethen Frank, Michigan Tech’s Brian Halloran, and Minnesota’s Ben Meyers.
The East’s First Team offered Northeastern’s Devon Levi and Aidan McDonough, Quinnipiac’s Zach Metsa, Harvard’s Nick Abruzzese, and UMass’ Scott Morrow and Bobby Trivigno. The East’s Second Team held Quinnipiac’s Yaniv Perets, Northeastern’s Jordan Harris, Harvard’s Henry Thrun, Army’s Colin Bilek (the first Atlantic Hockey player to make two All-American teams) Boston College’s Jack McBain, and UConn’s Ryan Tverberg.
McKay and the Mavericks will try for their first ever National Championship against the Denver Pioneers in McKay’s 138th and his expected final collegiate game. Puck drops at 8 PM ET at TD Garden.