Holland praised for selflessness moving aside for Yzerman's arrival
Detroit — So what’s next for Ken Holland?
In the immediate future, a promotion in the Red Wings' front office.
Long term, it'll be interesting to watch.
Holland, the Red Wings’ longtime general manager, was elevated to senior vice president Friday upon Steve Yzerman returning to the organization and taking over as general manager.
Holland, 63, was excited about the return of Yzerman — the two have strong friendship and admire each other — to the Wings’ organization.
“It really is an exciting day for the fans of the Detroit Red Wings and the organization,” Holland said. “Stevie is one of the greatest players who ever played in a Red Wings uniform. I’ve known Stevie since 1983 when I was a minor league goaltender and Steve was a first-round draft pick (both in the Wings’ organization).
“Stevie and I have had many conversations over the last couple weeks leading up to day. It’s a real exciting day for me to see Steve Yzerman come back where he belongs in Detroit, with the Red Wings.”
Holland managed the Wings for 22 seasons and guided the team to three Stanley Cups and 10 division titles, along with four Presidents' Trophies (league’s best record).
Holland spoke often during the season about his desire to continue managing a hockey team.
There were rumors circulating around the hockey industry Friday that Holland would immediately become a leading contender for whatever GM job he would ever be interested in, if he chose to go that route.
Edmonton, but more likely expansion Seattle in a year or two (it comes into the league in 2021), would be logical destinations for Holland, who has a summer home in western Canada, not far from Seattle.
Owner Chris Ilitch praised Holland’s work ethic and selflessness.
“I’m a big believer to be successful at anything in life, it takes a lot of hard work to be successful,” Ilitch said. “In professional sports, it really takes a lot of hard work. It takes hard work for the players, we see every day how hard they train and prepare.
“But it’s also hard work for the front office staff, and I would say to you that nobody has worked harder to bring success to the Detroit Red Wings than Ken Holland. His work ethic is incredible. He’s been an amazing general manager for our organization.
“What Ken Holland has done here through this process is incredible. He’s looked at what is the best interest of the Detroit Red Wings and put his self-interest aside. He loves what he does, but he realizes this is a one-time opportunity, perhaps, to bring Stevie back to Detroit and Ken has willingly done that and it’s an incredible thing. It speaks to his selflessness and speaks to the long-term success of the Detroit Red Wings. We’ve seen people in the organization putting their self-interest aside and doing what is best for the organization.”
Yzerman was glowing of Holland’s impact on his playing and managerial career.
“He’s had a phenomenal tenure,” Yzerman said. “The way he treats people and deals with every situation, for me, he’s been a teammate way back in the day, he’s been a scout in the organization, my general manager. He’s been a great friend and a mentor.
“I’ve learned so much, not only as player playing for him but in conversations and learning and listening. It was an invaluable education for me.
“I’m grateful for his humility and selflessness. I will be leaning heavily on his expertise.”