Calgarian Dryden Howse had a banner year and it’s about to get a lot better. The 15-year-old product of the Okotoks Dawgs Academy put up stellar numbers and was recently named Alberta’s Bantam AAA Player of the Year. He will be presented with the prestigious honour at the annual Baseball Alberta Awards Banquet today (Nov. 25) in Edmonton.
Alberta Dugout Stories reporter Ian Wilson caught up with Dryden recently to learn more about the budding prospect. Here’s our Q&A with him:
Q: First off, congratulations on winning Alberta’s Bantam AAA Player of the Year! Tell us how you found out about winning the award?
A: It was just a regular day. I heard my coach say ‘congratulations on the player of the year award,’ and at first I was a little shocked, but it’s pretty cool to win something like that.
Q: You’re a member of the Okotoks Dawgs Academy. What has your experience been like with the Dawgs? How has the academy elevated your game?
A: My experience with the Dawgs has been awesome. They have helped me develop a lot over this past year, and all those guys really know what they’re talking about. I think it is the best baseball program in Canada.
Q: You had some pretty amazing baseball experiences this past year. What were the biggest highlights?
A: The biggest highlight for me was winning provincials. That was the best feeling for my teammates and I. We all worked really hard to get there, and when we won it was the best way to end the season.
Q: How was the T12 Tournament in Toronto?
A: T12 was an amazing experience. Playing in the Rogers Centre was surreal. Just to think that I was playing on the same field as big leaguers is crazy. I hope I get to go back next year and experience that again.
Q: You’ve spent some time at shortstop and behind the plate. Describe yourself as a ball player. What are your strengths and what are your weaknesses?
A: I love playing infield, raking ground balls, and I’m getting more comfortable behind the plate. I am going to play both positions this year, so I am looking forward to that. I think I am a very well-rounded baseball player and I am going to work on whatever I need to improve on for this upcoming year.
Q: Who is your favourite baseball player and what is your favourite team?
A: My favourite player would have to be Bryce Harper. He is fun to watch and I love the way he plays the game. My favourite team is the Yankees and I’ve always liked watching them, and most of my family likes the Yankees.
Q: What number do you wear and why?
A: I usually wear the number 13. It’s my favourite number and people think it’s an unlucky number so that is another reason I like to wear it, just to be that guy.
Q: If you could only pick one walkup song for the rest of your baseball career, what would it be?
A: “Big Poppa” (by The Notorious B.I.G.). It was my walkup last year. It may not exactly suit me, but I just love the song and I would want it to be my walkup for the rest of my baseball career.
Q: You’ve drawn some interest from Division 1 schools. What are you looking for in a school and why?
A: I really want to go to a good school where I can further my education, get a degree and play baseball at a high level. Going to college has always been a dream of mine and it would be a dream come true.
Q: Your first name, Dryden, is often associated with Montreal Canadien hockey legend Ken Dryden. Is that where your name comes from or is there another story behind it?
A: I am named after Ken Dryden. My parents were watching hockey one day thinking of what to name me, and they just thought that Dryden would be a good name for me.
Q: How did you end up getting into baseball?
A: I used to play hockey, but baseball was just different than every other sport to me. I’ve always loved going to the field and playing the game I love with my best friends. It’s just one of the best things in the world to me.
Q: Are you related to former Calgary Flame prospect Ryan Howse? If so, how has he influenced your athletic path to this point?
A: Ryan is my brother. He has always been a big influence on me as an athlete. I always look up to him as a role model and I want to accomplish the same things he did, except in baseball.
Q: Looking ahead, what are your baseball goals for the year ahead? What would be an ideal 2018 for you?
A: My one and only goal for the season is to be the best player I can possibly be, and I want my team to win and be successful throughout the whole 2018 season.
Many thanks to Dryden for making time for us and congratulations again on his Bantam AAA Player of the Year Award!