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PETE UNDER PRESSURE
Ken Dryden's decision to quit hockey at age 26 to become a law clerk may seem astonishing, but his reasons for doing so are logical—if you can get over the idea of giving up $120,000 a year for a job paying $134 a week. Dryden is the super-goalie from Cornell who joined the Montreal Canadiens a few games before the Stanley Cup playoffs in 1971 and then was named most valuable player in the playoffs. He was outstanding again during the 1971-72 season and was signed to a lucrative two-year contract. He was paid $75,000 in 1972-73, earned another $30,000 in bonuses and was to get $90,000 before bonuses this season.
But the contract was signed before the National Hockey League's war with the World Hockey Association sent salaries skyrocketing. When Dryden heard of the money some of the other goalies in the league were now getting, he wanted Montreal to revise his contract upward. Way upward. The Canadiens offered about $125,000 a year, but Dryden was thinking in terms of $175,000 or so. Montreal said no, and Dryden quit.
"Money can be a principle as well as something to buy objects with," Dryden said. "I didn't expect to get what the Bobby Orrs do, but I know I belong on the next level."
Dryden will spend the year articling with the Toronto law firm of Osier, Hoskins and Harcourt. Articling is a form of interning and is required in Canada of prospective lawyers, which Dryden is. "I thought I might as well retire from hockey and start articling now," he said. "I didn't like the idea of doing it at 35, or whenever I finally finish with hockey." As to questions about a prospective lawyer not honoring a contract, Dryden said, "The sanctity of the contract is preserved by my retiring from hockey. I am not playing, and I am not being paid. I presume I am going to play again a year from now."
But, presumably, not for Montreal. The line forms on the right. Bring your checkbooks.
Australians who have been deploring the decline in tennis in that country over the last decade ( Australia has not won the Davis Cup since 1967) were heartened by the twin victories of John Newcombe and Margaret Court in the U.S. singles championships and cheered further by Rod Laver's announcement that he would be available to play for Australia in the Davis Cup matches this November and December. Wow. With Laver, Newcombe, Ken Rosewall and Mai Anderson, Australia looked a good bet to knock off the U.S. and take the cup home again. It was like the good old days, when Australia dominated tennis the way the New York Yankees dominated baseball.