Vernon’s Dennis Holland, centre, with his daugther Emmalee, left, and son Jacob, attends the 2020 NHL Outdoor Winter Classic Jan. 1 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. Holland is in his 18th year as a scout for the Dallas Stars, who are three wins away from capturing the Stanley Cup. It would give Holland his first-ever Cup ring. (Facebook photo)

Stanley Cup within Vernon man’s reach

Dennis Holland has spent the past 18 years scouting for the Dallas Stars, seeking his first Cup ring

Every time he scored a goal in the driveway of his 23rd Street home as a kid, Vernon’s Dennis Holland would raise his arms in the air, imagining he’d just won the Stanley Cup.

Now, that dream is three wins away from becoming reality.

Holland, 51, is an 18-year scout for the NHL’s Dallas Stars, who won Game 1 of the 2020 Cup final Saturday, Sept. 19, 4-1 over the Tampa Bay Lightning (T-Bay won Game 2 Monday, 3-2, series tied 1-1). He will get his first Stanley Cup ring if the Stars go on to win the Cup for the second time in franchise history.

“I’ve dreamed of winning the Stanley Cup, I betcha, 10,000 times,” said Holland, who has been in Vernon for the Stars’ Cup run. He has not been in the Stars’ bubble in Edmonton during the Cup tournament. “But you get to this point (the final), you can smell it. The Cup is six inches from your reach but it’s also 10 miles from your reach. That’s a good team we’re playing.”

Should the Stars win the Cup, Holland likely won’t be there to celebrate with the organization, though he said he’s contemplated driving to Edmonton if the Stars come within a game of winning it all.

If he does get his name on the legendary trophy, Holland will join older brother Ken on the coveted Holy Grail of Hockey. Ken Holland, now the president of the Edmonton Oilers, won the Cup four times with the Detroit Red Wings.

“I’ve had a brief conversation with him after each stop (of the playoffs),” said Holland. “I’ve seen Stanley Cup victories and, through his eyes, what this opportunity is like.”

Holland said watching his team in the final is exciting, yet nerve-wracking.

“I enjoy things once the game is over,” laughed Holland. “Those 60 minutes, you spend watching the team trying to dump pucks in, dump pucks out and hope for the best. Our goalie (Anton Khudobin) has been great.”

Holland played minor hockey in Vernon, and spent one full season with the B.C. Junior Hockey League’s Vernon Lakers in 1985-86, scoring 43 goals and adding 65 assists for 105 points.

The following season, Holland jumped to the Western Hockey League’s Portland Winter Hawks and became a legend in Oregon. In three full seasons, Holland scored 176 regular-season goals, added 248 assists for 424 career points.

The Red Wings selected Holland in the third round of the 1987 NHL Entry Draft, but he never played a game in the NHL, spending his nine-year professional career between the minor leagues and playing in Europe.

Holland has had a hand in drafting some of Dallas’ current star players like captain Jamie Benn, forwards Roope Hintz and Denis Gurianov, and defencemen Jamie (Big Rig) Oleksiak, Esa Lindell and John Klingberg.

“What’s been very cool is watching these kids develop,” said Holland. “I remember talking to them when they were 18- or 19-years-old, then fast forward and watching them compete in the NHL. I remember seven, eight, nine years earlier their vision of becoming NHL players and now here they are.”

In a normal year, all members of the Stanley Cup championship team get a day with the Stanley Cup, but it’s not known at this point if that will happen due to COVID.

There’s also a Vernon connection with the Lightning. Former NHL player Stacy Roest is Tampa Bay’s assistant general manager who has been in the Lightning bubble.

“We’ve got a friendly rivalry going over this series,” said Holland.

READ MORE: Gare’s Vernon mini hockey camp marvellous

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lumby is proceeding with Halloween fireworks for 2020, but encouraging everyone to stay in their cars or watch from home. (Dale Eurich Photography - 2019)
Halloween fireworks curbed in all but two North Okanagan communities

COVID-19 forces Lake Country, Coldstream, BX, Armstrong to cancel events

H.O.P.E. Outreach volunteers not only spread support, but thanks to donations they offer makeup, jewelry and clothing to sex trade workers in Vernon and Kelowna. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Warm clothing sought for Okanagan’s most vulnerable

Coat drive at People Place Sunday, Nov. 1 in Vernon and Nov. 7 in Kelowna

pan poll
WATCH: Have a happy and safe Halloween, Vernon: Block Watch

Vernon Block Watch team releases public service announcement ahead of big day

On Nov. 8, 2017 as the search was called off, white tents and black privacy fencing were no longer visible at the Sagmoen farm in Silver Creek and fewer police vehicles were present. (File photo)
Several police vehicles seen at and around Sagmoen farm in Shuswap Thursday night

RCMP at Silver Creek property where the remains of an 18-year-old Vernon woman were found in 2017

Morning Start: Cruise ships have their own morgues

Your morning start for Friday, Oct. 30, 2020

Sooke’s Paul Larouche enjoys gold panning along the Sooke River, looking for small treasures. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
VIDEO: Island man finds niche audience by gold-panning on YouTube

Paul Larouche, 29, with over 215,000 subscribers, opens up about his journey

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The Kimberley Dynamiters' next two exhibition games have been postponed due to an individual testing positive for COVID-19. Paul Rodgers file.
Member of Kimberley Dynamiters tests positive for COVID-19

Exhibition games in Fernie, Creston postponed

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday October 28, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Conversion therapy ban gets approval in principle, exposes Conservative divisions

Erin O’Toole himself voted in favour of the bill, as did most Conservative MPs

CBSA. (Black Press Media File)
4 sentenced in B.C. steroid smuggling, distribution ring that spilled into U.S.

Canadian Border Services Agency announced the results of a lengthy investigation it called ‘Project Trajectory’

Search and Rescue Technicians carry a stretcher to the CH149 Cormorant during a 442 Squadron Search and Rescue Exercise in Tofino on February 28. (Photo by: Cpl Joey Beaudin, 19 Wing Imaging, Comox)
Father and son found dead after weeklong search near Pemberton

The father and son had set out for a day of mushroom picking last Thursday

A full moon rises over Mt. Cheam on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Rare full moon, Daylight Saving makes for a uniquely spooky Halloween – despite COVID-19

We can’t host costume parties but this weekend is still one for the history books

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

Most Read