Chris Drury is my favorite athlete of all time. The guy was a complete warrior and a selfless teammate. A conqueror. He won at everything he did. He embodied, leadership, work ethic, and true competition. It would be remiss if we did not dedicate some time to his greatness and legendary status. He is the Alexander the Great of our generation. Here is why:
In 1989, at the age of 13, a young Christopher won the Little League World Series. He pitched a complete game 5-hitter and drove in two runs in the championship game. That same year, he won a Pee Wee hockey national championship.
After an unreal high school hockey career at Fairfield Prep, he went to play hockey at Boston University. His freshman year he helped his team win the National Championship. His senior year he won the Hobey Baker award for the best NCAA hockey player in the country.
He then played for the Colorado Avalanche. His rookie year, he finished with 44 points and won the Calder Memorial Trophy for the NHL’s top rookie. He was the first player to ever win the Hobey and the Calder. In the 2000-1 season, his team won the Stanley Cup Finals. He had 16 points in the playoffs. In 4 playoff seasons with the Avalanche, he had 11-game winning goals. The guy was clutch. With the game on the line, he had ice water in his veins and would find a way to help his team win.
He was traded to Buffalo in 2003. After the NHL lockout, he was named Co-captain. He guided the team to a Presidents Trophy for the 2006-7 season (given to the team with the most points at the end of the regular season). In the playoffs, he had 4 game winning or late game tying goals, including a legendary game tying goal with 7.7 seconds in regulation to force overtime.
Much to my dismay, he left Buffalo as a free agent and signed with the New York Rangers. He was named Captain of the NYR in 2008. Although he was older, the savvy veteran still excelled on the ice and remained clutch. He was named to the 2010 US Olympic Men’s hockey team for the third time. He helped lead the team to a Silver Medal after a tough OT loss to Canada.
On August 19, 2011, Chris Drury retired from the NHL. One day before his 36th birthday. A sad day for the NHL. A sad day for me. His legacy live on in eternity. In the rafters of his HS Fairfield Prep, on the Hobey, on the Calder, on the LLWS trophy, on the Stanley Cup, in the United States Hockey Hall of Fame, and hopefully soon in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
As the saying goes, “Heroes get remembered, but legends never die” –The Sandlot. Chris Drury is a living legend.
Pay your due to Christopher the Great. He deserves it (and yet would be embarrassed reading this). In his mind, he is nothing special. Just a competitor like the next guy. He didn’t like the spotlight. He liked to just do his job. And for that, we are forever grateful.
By: Matthew Benedict
***Here is a funny story about how he met his wife and the humility he lived with: Guy didn’t even wanna tell his future wife that he was the captain of the BU hockey team. Talk about having unreal wheels. He didn’t even need that to woo her.
His need to keep celebrity at a distance remained just as extreme. Drury was a junior when he met his future wife, Rory, at T’s Pub in Boston. It was after a 4–4 tie at BC; she was there with family. Drury, BU’s star, approached her. He told Rory he had seen her at the game, neglecting to mention he had been playing. “She didn’t want anything to do with me,” Drury says. He followed her around the bar all night. Rory told him she was a freshman at Fairfield University, on the same campus as his old high school, and he jumped at the connection, throwing everything he knew at her. He tried charm. He tried to impress. But he never told her he played hockey.
When Drury went to get a napkin to take her number, Rory bolted. He caught her at the cab,begged her to give him her last name. “Manning,” she said.
“Oh, like Peyton,” he said.
“I’ll call you!” Drury said, slamming the cab door.
He called the next day, drove down to Fairfield the next weekend. With Ferguson and another friend he took Rory to dinner. They spent a few hours together, Drury talking about how he hoped to teach U.S. history, maybe coach baseball, after her graduated. No one mentioned hockey. During dinner he asked her to go with him to The Bean pot, Boston’s storied annual four-college tournament. Two nights later she rode up in a van to Boston with Ferguson and three others. They got to their seats inside the Fleet Center, Rory figuring she’d meet up with her date then. “Where’s Chris?” she said to Ferguson.
“Right there,” he pointed.
Drury was out one ice, number 18. He didn’t wave. He never even looked up.
– Excerpt taken from The Winner by S.L. Price in Sports Illustrated 2007