Saturday, May 25, 2019

Former Vernon Viking Holland heading Into Hall, But He's Just Getting Started:

Here is an article on former Vernon Vikings goaltender Ken Holland.

Holland was inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame Thursday at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Holland was recently named General Manager and President of Hockey Operations of the Edmonton Oilers, had spent the past thirty three seasons with the Detroit Red Wings. 

Holland started as a scout with the 1985-86 Red Wings worked his way up to the team's General Manager/Ex. VP of hockey Operations.

Holland played one season in Vernon with the 1973-74 Vernon Vikings. 

Holland was drafted 188th overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in Round 12 of the 1975 NHL draft. Holland played in just four games with the Hartford Whalers & Detroit Red Wings before retiring from hockey and joining the Red Wings as a scout.

Ken Holland's Player Profile:

This was in the Daily Courier newspaper:

Holland's headed into Hall, but he's just getting started 


May 11, 2019

Ken Holland’s earliest hockey memories growing up in Vernon focus on family.

The new general manager of the Edmonton Oilers—best known for masterminding a 25-year playoff run for the Detroit Red Wings—is headed into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame later this month.

When asked what he remembers most about his formative years in the valley, he spoke of his father and the family’s love affair with sports.

“Everything revolved in our house on hockey in the winter and baseball in the summer,” Holland told The Okanagan Weekend.

Holland is heading into the hall as a builder. The gala ceremony is set for May 23 in Vancouver.

“I’m very excited,” said Holland, whose mother still lives in Vernon. “I’m very humbled and very honoured.”

Holland is lauded as one of hockey’s sharpest minds, and he may have learned some of that from his dad, who helped organize minor hockey leagues and all-star teams while Ken was a boy.

Holland was a goalie, and left Vernon at 19 for the Medicine Hat Tigers. He enjoyed a productive pro career, getting drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1975, but playing mostly in the American Hockey League.

His NHL stats line includes one game for the Hartford Whalers and three for Detroit, but no wins. Holland moved into the front office and started scouting after his playing days ended in 1985. That’s when everything changed.

Detroit won four Stanley Cups between 1997 and 2008, with Holland as GM for the last three.

The Wings qualified for the playoffs every year from 1990 to 2016.

Many in the business credit Holland for keeping Detroit competitive during that time.

It’s the reason he’s heading into another Hall of Fame (he’s already in the B.C. Hockey Hall). But Edmonton Oilers fans are hoping there are still plenty of accolades ahead for the 63-year-old Holland.

Edmonton hired him as the new Oilers GM on Tuesday. It caught many off-guard since Holland had just been promoted to senior vice-president in Detroit after Steve Yzerman took over as GM.

It appeared to be a synchronized passing of the torch to Detroit’s hall-of-fame captain from its hall-of-fame GM.

Instead, he jumped ship for the chance to keep making hockey decisions.

Boy, does he ever face some wicked ones ahead.

Edmonton has, arguably, the game’s greatest player — Connor McDavid — and 50-goal scorer Leon Draisaitl.

But the club has only made the playoffs once in 13 years. They need a new coach, and time to figure out how to build around the core while getting out from under a salary cap.

There are challenges at every position.

It’s exactly what Holland was looking for.

“We are going to compete for a playoff spot,” he said.

“The reality is, you can’t force it ... (but) I’ve got to make sure that the fan base understands that we’re trying to win now.”

His roadmap starts with stability, and that starts with hiring the right coach. Holland has hinted to Edmonton media a veteran coach would better suit the Oilers.

Hiring a coach is at least just one decision. What happens on the ice involves 22 moving parts. Naturally, when Holland talks about Edmonton he begins and ends with McDavid and Draisaitl.

“We’ve got to support them,” Holland said.

“I’ve got work to do to build around those players.”

Finding secondary scoring is instrumental, but just one piece of the process.

He needs “depth, size and goaltending.”

On the back end, Holland sees promise. Darnell Nurse, 23, took huge strides this season and led all Oiler defencemen in scoring (10 goals, 31 assists) while playing in every game. That he was fourth in team scoring overall is a blessing and a curse.

At the same time, Holland said there are two or three players for Edmonton’s AHL farm team, the Bakersfield Condors, ready “to surface in a year or two.”

Holland is also watching Evan Bouchard (London) and Dmitri Samorukov (Guelph) closely. Both are only 19.

As much time as Holland took talking about defence, he seemed most animated about goaltending.

Mikko Koskinen had everyone in Edmonton excited with an impressive run to start the NHL season — as a backup.

He played so well behind starter Cam Talbot that Edmonton traded Talbot to Philadelphia so Koskinen could have the starting job.

He didn’t exactly run away with it, and now you’ll find as many Oiler fans talking about Koskinen turning 30 years old in his first full NHL season and carrying around a $4.5 million annual contract extension.

Holland wasn’t shy about what’s going to happen in goal. He suggested successful NHL teams now have a 1-2 punch. Gone are the days where one goalie plays 65 games and the other one opens the gate on the bench.

“You really need two goalies,” Holland said.

Maybe, or maybe he doesn’t see much future in Koskinen and wants to score big in free agency.

This would all make sense if there were no restrictions, like he had in Detroit during the late ’90s and early 2000s.

This is the salary cap era, though. How does Holland make this work now? He didn’t seem worried.

“The cap gives every fan of every team hope,” he said. “It’s now a 30-team league. ... It’s wide open.”

Just don’t expect him to herald an era in Edmonton that approaches Detroit’s seemingly untouchable 25-year streak.

Look at the leaders now, Holland said. Pittsburgh is riding the current hot hand, having made the playoffs in 13 straight seasons. Next? Nashville and Washington at five years in a row.

That all seemed inconsequential to Holland. He repeated that just making the playoffs is his goal. From there, well, anything goes.

“The good news is,” he said, “somebody’s got to win the Cup every year.”

Class of 2019

Emily Brydon, Skiing; Roy Gerela, Football; Kelly McCallum, Rugby; Daniel Sedin, Ice Hockey; Henrik Sedin, Ice Hockey


1968 New Westminster Salmonbellies Lacrosse


Ken Holland, Ice Hockey; Darlene Currie, Basketball; Tony Waiters, Soccer


Ralph ‘Hunk’ Henderson, Basketball/Football

W.A.C. Bennett Award

Ron Toigo


Dan Jukich

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