On Monday, April 18, CCHA goaltender and Hobey Baker winner Dryden McKay was given a six-month suspension by the United States Anti-Doping Agency.
Ferris State goaltender Logan Stein, who has played against McKay, shared his thoughts on the matter.
Dryden McKay is arguably the best goalie to play college hockey. What he was able to do over four years is unheard of in college hockey. The numbers he has put up and the big-time performances on the biggest stage were astonishing to watch.
Through 140 games with Minnesota State, McKay posted a record of 113-20-4. On top of this, he averaged a save percentage of .931 and had an average of 1.48 GAA through four years.
Minnesota State is in its golden generation, and he is a big reason why. The team was skilled, with many players who signed professional contracts after their CCHA regular season and playoff championship and their second-place finish in the NCAA tournament.
On April 18, McKay announced he would be accepting a sixth-month suspension by the USADA due to a positive drug test before being an alternate for the United States Olympic team.
While it is easy to read the headlines “McKay suspended for a positive drug test,” this story is worth a deep dive. McKay is about as innocent as possible.
Due to the positive test, McKay withdrew from the Olympics. He sent all his supplements to a lab to get tested. He tested positive for Ostarine, which was found in a vitamin D3 supplement he was taking to boost his immune system. Why is he being suspended for accidentally testing positive? Why is he being punished for trying to stay healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic?
The suspension is a very extensive punishment. I understand the USADA’s reasons, but they should have recognized why he tested positive and voided the positive test and the suspension.
McKay faced a four-year ban, but he appealed the decision and will only serve six months. The USADA has a no-tolerance policy, so this sixth-month suspension is the best-case scenario for McKay
As a fellow NCAA athlete subject to drug testing, suspensions like this make you nervous because you never know what supplement you are taking could have a substance in it that would pop up on a drug test. The supplement industry is poorly regulated, and this is a wake-up call to all NCAA athletes to make sure their supplements are NSF-approved.
When this news came out, I felt terrible for him. I knew he would face backlash from all fronts, and people would question the integrity of his performances over the last four years. Everyone who has heard of McKay knows of his excellence, and this situation gives everyone a chance to take a swing.
McKay capped off his college career with the Hobey Baker award (awarded to the best player in college hockey), runner-up to the NCAA champions, and was named an All-American. His resume is a mouthful, and he deserves our respect. His elite play combined with consistency has made him a household name, and his legacy should not be tarnished.
McKay is the first goaltender to win the Hobey Baker award since Michigan State’s Ryan Miller in 2001.
The records McKay rewrote may never be broken. This past season, McKay broke Miller’s shutout record with his 27th career shutout. McKay went on to set the record at 34 career shutouts.
McKay announced on April 18 that he would play professionally in the fall after serving his suspension. It was later revealed that he plans to sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League.
I will remember McKay as one of the greatest goalies to ever take the ice in college hockey, and I wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.