Recognized as one of the “good guys” in the game, Ken was great to talk with. He knows player development, he knows the value of leadership and he knows how to build a winner. He knows a lot about every aspect of the game! So it was hard for me to decide what to talk with him about.
Ken Holland is one of those names that needs no introduction, but I will give it a try.
Holland has been around the game of hockey his entire life. Originally a goalie with the Medicine Hat Tigers, Holland was selected 188th overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1975 NHL entry draft.
Holland went on to play 8 seasons of pro hockey and played 4 games in the NHL – one for the Hartford Whalers, and 3 for the Detroit Red Wings.
After his retirement Ken had a brief job as a door to door vacuum salesman, before landing a job as an area scout for the Red Wings. In 1997 Holland made his ascension up the ranks complete and was named executive Vice President and General Manager.
Ken helped comprise one of the most potent teams of a generation with the Wings. Aided by drafting two cornerstones in Zetterberg and Datsyuk (round 7 and round 6) Holland gained a reputation as one of the most successful general managers in the NHL. Under his leadership as GM the Red Wings won the Central Division ten times, the regular-season Conference title five times, the President’s trophy four times, and the Stanley Cup three times. Holland and the Wings also lost in Stanley Cup final twice during his tenure.
Ken is now just finishing his first season as GM of the Edmonton Oilers and signed a 5 year contract in late spring 2019.
We cover a lot in this episode. Mostly we focus on the draft, and player development and the road to the show. But we do come off the rails a few time and go down some rabbit holes!
I know you will enjoy this one… it’s not often you get an NHL GM to donate 90 minutes of his time!