The BC Sports Hall of Fame’s 2019 induction class includes a well-known Vernon native.
Ken Holland, general manager of the National Hockey League’s Detroit Red Wings, will be inducted in the builder-coach class Thursday, May 23, at the Vancouver Conventional Centre.
“Obviously, it’s an incredible honour, being a B.C. boy I still have roots in B.C. I own a home there, my mom (Lee) and brother (Dennis) are there, my sister (Diane) is in Victoria, B.C. is home,” said Holland Wednesday, driving back to Detroit from Grand Rapids, Mich., where he had been watching the NHL club’s farm team.
Holland joins fellow builder-coach Darlene Currie (basketball), Tony Waiters (soccer), athletes Emily Brydon (skiing), Roy Gerela (football), Kelly McCallum (rugby), Daniel and Henrik Sedin (hockey), the 1968 New Westminster Salmonbellies (team, lacrosse), pioneer Ralph (Hunk) Henderson (basketball, football), media inductee Dan Jukich and W.A.C. Bennett Award winner Ron Toigo in the Class of 2019.
“I was born and raised in B.C., spent the first 20 years of my life growing up in Vernon, then left to go play. I’ve got a lot of people to thank. This is an incredible class to be going in with. I know the Gerelas were kickers from North Vancouver, and to go in with the Sedins, with all they’ve done for the (Vancouver) Canucks and hockey in B.C., is such an honour.”
Holland grew up on East Hill and played one season in goal in the B.C. Junior Hockey League for his hometown Vernon Vikings before joining the Western Hockey League’s Medicine Hat Tigers. He was drafted in the 12th round of the 1975 NHL Draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs but never played a game for the Leafs. He played four NHL contests with the Hartford Whalers and Red Wings.
Holland gave up an off-season liquor store job that he loved, ignored his mom’s advice of becoming a vacuum cleaner salesman and took a job with the Red Wings as a scout in Western Canada after his playing days ended in 1985.
He served seven years as Detroit’s director of amateur scouting and three as assistant general manager before being promoted to his current position on July 18, 1997. He’s won four Stanley Cups with the Red Wings and was part of the management of Team Canada that won Olympic gold medals in Vancouver in 2010 and Sochi, Russia, in 2014.
He signed a two-year contract extension with the Red Wings in April.
Holland is also a member of the Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame.
“Congratulations to this terrific class of 11 individuals and one team spanning eight sports,” said Tom Mayenknecht, chair of the BC Sports Hall of Fame. “The Class of 2019 is another tribute to how British Columbia has become one of the most important sports hubs in Canada. These athletes, coaches, builders, pioneers and media will be certain to ‘Inspire the Future.’
Once inducted, these individuals and the team will be officially recognized as Honoured Members and an Honoured Team of the BC Sports Hall of Fame. Since 1966, the BC Sports Hall of Fame has inducted 385 individuals and 60 teams.
For more information about the BC Sports Hall of Fame, please visit www.bcsportshalloffame.com.