Executive Vice President & General Manager
Holland enters his 16th season as general manager of the Red Wings and his 30th year with the organization. He is arguably the most successful general manager in all of professional sports over the last 15 years. Since Holland was appointed to his current position in July, 1997, the Red Wings have more wins (790) than any other NHL franchise, including 683 regular-season wins and 107 playoff victories. Under Holland’s watch the Red Wings have won three Stanley Cups (1998, 2002, ‘08), four Presidents’ Trophies (2002, ‘04, ‘06, ‘08), 10 Central Division titles (1999, 2001, ‘02, ‘03, ‘04, ‘06, ‘07, ‘08, ‘09, ‘11), and five regular-season Western Conference titles (2002, ‘04, ‘06, ‘07, ‘08).
Holland’s last seven seasons have been his most impressive as an NHL general manager. After drastically cutting payroll to comply with the NHL’s salary cap, he assembled a team that won the second-most games in Red Wings’ history (58) and the Presidents’ Trophy in 2005-06. The Red Wings followed with a 50-19-13 regular-season and a trip to the Western Conference finals in 2006-07. The following season, the Red Wings posted a 54-21-7 record and captured the sixth Presidents’ Trophy and 11th Stanley Cup championship in franchise history. In 2008-09, Detroit became just the third team in NHL history to record 50-or-more wins in four consecutive seasons, finishing with a 51-21-10 mark and a return trip to the Stanley Cup finals. For his efforts, Holland was named the NHL’s GM of the Decade (2000-09) by Sports Illustrated.com. This past season, the Red Wings extended their NHL record to 12 consecutive 100-point seasons (48-28-6, 102 points) and qualified for the playoffs for the 21st consecutive year, the longest active streak in professional sports.
In March, 1999, Holland orchestrated an amazing 24-hour period at the NHL’s trade deadline in just his second season as general manager. When the dust had settled, Detroit had acquired Chris Chelios, Ulf Samuelsson, Wendel Clark and Bill Ranford. While the Red Wings were unable to capture the 1999 Stanley Cup, Holland’s moves were widely regarded as both sound and aggressive, providing Detroit with the best possible chance of defending its title.
Just two seasons later, Holland pulled off another flurry of free agent signings, starting on May 24, 2001, when he secured the first of four veteran players by signing defenseman Fredrik Olausson, a veteran of 14 NHL seasons, out of the Swiss Hockey League. Holland kept the winged wheel rolling on July 1, as he traded forward Slava Kozlov and a first-round draft pick to the Buffalo Sabres for elite goaltender Dominik Hasek. The following day, Holland signed free agent forward Luc Robitaille to a two-year contract. Finally, on August 22, Holland inked Brett Hull to a two-year contract. These four high-profile stars played integral roles in helping Detroit capture the 2002 Stanley Cup.
The 11th GM in club history, Holland has worked diligently to secure new contracts with many of the organization’s homegrown players in order to keep the continuity of the team intact and ensure the future success of the franchise. In recent years, Holland has procured deals with Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Niklas Kronwall and Jimmy Howard. Holland’s ability to add veteran stars such as Brian Rafalski, Marian Hossa and Mike Modano via free agency has made the Red Wings perennial Stanley Cup contenders.
Holland oversees all aspects of Detroit’s hockey operations including all matters relating to player personnel, development, contract negotiations and player movements. Due to his numerous responsibilities as GM, Holland now plays a less prominent role at the NHL entry draft, after being the main point person during his seven years as amateur scouting director. In that capacity, he can be credited with selecting some of Detroit’s best young talent, including Vyacheslav Kozlov, Darren McCarty, Chris Osgood and Martin Lapointe, along with several other top prospects.
Holland, 56, was elevated to his current position in 1997. Prior to that, he handled several different front office duties for the club over a 15-year period. He began his off-ice career in 1985 following a professional career as a goaltender, primarily in the American Hockey League. He started with the Wings as a western Canada scout, followed by seven years as amateur scouting director and three years as assistant general manager.
A native of Vernon, British Columbia, Holland played in the junior ranks for Medicine Hat (WHL) in 1974-75. He was Toronto’s 13th pick (188th overall) in the 1975 draft, but never saw action with the Maple Leafs. Holland twice signed with NHL teams as a free agent – in 1980 with Hartford and 1983 with Detroit. He spent most of his pro career in the AHL with Binghamton, Springfield and Adirondack. He made his NHL debut in 1980-81, playing one game with Hartford followed by three games for Detroit in 1983-84. In February 1998, Holland was inducted into the Binghamton (NY) Sports Hall of Fame.
Holland recently served as associate director for Hockey Canada at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver and will hold the same role at the upcoming 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Team Canada took home the men’s ice hockey gold medal in 2010 with a thrilling 3-2 overtime victory over the United States.
He and his wife, Cindi, reside in suburban Detroit and have four children: Brad, Julie, Rachel and Greg.