Hockey Canada announced Tuesday that Ken Dryden, Sheldon Kennedy and Dr. Charles Tator are this year's honourees for the Order of Hockey in Canada.
"This year’s group of honourees has made a tremendous impact on the game, one that extends beyond statistics and on-ice achievements. Ken, Sheldon and Charles have made unique contributions to hockey both on and off the ice, and all three men are equally deserving of this honour." said Tom Renney, CEO of Hockey Canada in a statement. "To be recognized as a Distinguished Honouree of the Order of Hockey in Canada is one of the most prestigious accomplishments one can receive.
"On behalf of my colleagues at Hockey Canada, the Order of Hockey in Canada selection committee and our board members, I would like to congratulate Ken, Sheldon and Charles on this achievement, and we look forward to celebrating with them in June."
Dryden played for eight years in the NHL with the Montreal Canadiens, winning six Stanley Cups.
A late-season call-up with the Habs in 1971, he won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, followed by the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie the next season. He was also a five-time winner of the Vezina Trophy and appeared in the NHL All-Star Game on five occasions. Dryden was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983 and was also named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in the league's centennial season.
Dryden represented Canada at the 1972 Summit Series and 1969 IIHF World Championship. His No. 29 was retired by the Canadiens in 2007 and he was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2013.
Dryden earned his law degree from McGill University in 1974, served as president of the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1997-2003, was a Member of Parliament from 2004-11, served as Minister of Social Development from 2004-06 and wrote four best-selling books.
Kennedy's impact on the game reaches far beyond his playing career as a long-time advocate for the prevention of bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination.
He spent three seasons with the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League, captaining the team to a WHL championship and Memorial Cup title in 1989. In the NHL, he played in 310 career games with the Detroit Red Wings, Calgary Flames and Boston Bruins.
As a member of Team Canada, Kennedy recorded 13 points in 14 games at the 1988 and 1989 IIHF World Junior Championship.
But it is his off-ice efforts that stand out with distinction, co-founding the Respect Group, which has trained more than one million Canadians to recognize and prevent bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination in sports, schools and the workplace.
Kennedy has also raised $1.2 million in support of sexual abuse victims by rollerblading across Canada in 1998, and has been honoured with the Hockey Canada Order of Merit (2018), Alberta Order of Excellence (2016) and Order of Canada (2014).
Dr. Tator, a professor in the department of surgery at the University of Toronto, is a world-renowned expert on concussion and spinal injuries in sports and a long-time advocate for safety in minor hockey in Canada.
He has made significant efforts to combat concussions and reduce spinal cord injuries in hockey, which includes his role as the director of the Canadian Sports Concussion Project at Toronto Western Hospital. He also founded ThinkFirst Canada, an organization that educates young people about reducing their risk for injury and sits on the board of directors of Parachute Canada, an injury-prevention charity.
Tator was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2017. He was also inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2009 and Terry Fox Hall of Fame in 2003. In 2000, he was invested as a Member of the Order of Canada.
The Order of Hockey in Canada initiative began in 2012 to celebrate individuals for their outstanding contributions or service to the growth and development of the sport of hockey in Canada.