Okanagan hockey icon heads to B.C. hall

Vernon’s Ken Holland, GM of the Edmonton Oilers, inducted into B.C. Sports Hall of Fame Thursday

His mom and dad. His immediate family. The people of his hometown.

All were on the minds of Vernon’s Ken Holland Thursday night in Vancouver, as the now-general manager and president of hockey operations of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers accepted his induction into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame in the builder category.

“Anytime you succeed in life, it’s because you received help along the way,” said Holland. “When I received the call, it made me reflect on all of the people who impacted me, and it starts with the people of Vernon. They allowed me to pursue my dreams. It’s where I spend my summers and it will always be home.

“I will certainly be reflecting on all of the support my parents (Rienie and Lee) provided. My dad passed away in 1999 and I truly wish he was here to share this honour. I will also be thinking about my kids and my wife who I can’t thank enough for all of the support she has provided, especially during those years when I was on the road a great deal.”

READ ALSO: Hall call for Vernon’s Ken Holland

Holland says his professional life in hockey may have led to Detroit for the past three decades before ultimately being named GM of the Edmonton Oilers this month, but the Vernon native says he will forever be a proud Canadian and British Columbian.

Holland began his hockey career as a player, later becoming a scout before ascending to the role of general manager and vice president of the Detroit Red Wings where he helped build four Stanley Cup Championship teams. He was also a key part of the Hockey Canada Management group that helped assemble the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics gold medal squad.

READ ALSO: Vernon’s Ken Holland new GM of Edmonton Oilers

The hockey icon says induction into the BC Sports Hall of Fame is special.

“This honour is humbling and I am thrilled because the BC Sports Hall of Fame includes athletes and builders in a variety of sports, but the one thing we all have in common is our passion for sports.”

Besides Holland, the BC Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2019 includes:

* Emily Brydon: Three-time Olympian and member of Canada’s National Ski Team;

* Roy Gerela: The first British Columbian to star in the NFL during an 11-year kicking career that included three Super Bowl championships with the Pittsburgh Steelers;

* Kelly McCallum: A legend in women’s rugby, representing Canada 30 times at the international level and captained the national women’s team 16 times;

* Daniel Sedin: All-time leading goal scorer in Vancouver Canucks team history over a 17-year career with the club;

* Henrik Sedin: All-time leader in scoring and games played in Vancouver Canuck history over a 17-year career with the club;

* Darlene Currie: One of Canada’s greatest women’s basketball players and later coach of the Canadian national basketball team;

* Tony Waiters: One of the greatest coaches in Canadian soccer history, guiding the Vancouver Whitecaps to the 1979 NASL title and coaching the Canadian entry in the 1986 World Cup;

* 1968 New Westminster Salmonbellies: 1968 National Lacrosse Association champions and the first true coast-to-coast North American professional lacrosse championship team;

* Ralph ‘Hunk’ Henderson: One of the first BC athletes to play professional football and a key member of three BCSHOF Honoured basketball Teams;

* Dan Jukich: Considered one of the most talented horse racing announcers in North America for more than 30-years and active in the BC horse racing industry for nearly four decades;

* Ron Toigo: The WAC Bennett Award recipient is the long-time owner and president of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants who also spearheaded also helped bring and lead major international events to BC, including the 2006 and 2019 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships.



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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