Vernon NHL legend Ken Holland muses on Hall of Fame induction

Could never dream that big

The accolades just keep coming for Vernon's Ken Holland.

The NHL legend received the freedom of the city Tuesday, and will soon be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Holland, who started his hockey career with the Vernon Vikings, went on to play junior hockey before a stint in the NHL as a goalie. He then became general manager of the Detroit Red Wings from 1997 to 2019, helping to build a dynasty that earned the Motor City four Stanley Cups.

He is currently GM of the Edmonton Oilers, and on Nov. 15 his name will stand among some of the giants of the sport.

He was supposed to be inducted last year, but COVID concerns forced a delay of the ceremony.

“I'm excited, I'm nervous. I have to get up and give a speech,” Holland said while in Vernon this week to receive the freedom of the city honour.

“I have so many people to thank who have impacted my career and helped make this happen. I'm incredibly excited, my family is excited.”

As a young man strapping on the pads back in the 1970s, Holland had no idea his career would take him where it has.

“We all have dreams, but I couldn't dream this big.

“I remember playing road hockey in my driveway as a kid. I can remember my first NHL game in 1980 in Madison Square Garden. I was playing for Hartford and we were down 6-1 after two periods, and I was thinking to myself, 'Ken, enjoy the third period because you will probably never see the National Hockey League ever again,” he recalled.

“But now, 40 years later, going into the Hockey Hall of Fame, getting the freedom of the city award from the city I grew up in means so much to me – I could never dream that big.”

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