Wings GM Ken Holland Proves: He is the best in Pro Sports!
He once told me, “You should be my agent,” after filming an interview and even though that conversation was nearly three years ago, I still feel the same way. Wings GM Ken Holland is the best GM in pro sports.
He has a system. A system that many thought would be dead after the salary cap came in. A system they said couldn’t work with the modern athlete after a man with more rings than I have excess pounds in Scotty Bowman. It does work, and that system has the Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals.
He likes an authoritarian coach. One that isn’t his players’ buddy, and one that will hand out playing time based on who has earned and not who has the biggest deal or sells the most jerseys. When he hired a coach that was a great guy, but didn’t rule over his team with an iron fist, he made a move to Mike Babcock.
Kenny Holland is decisive; he is not deterred and is a great person. He loves the Wings. He told me, “I am so fortunate to have this job. I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t stop and think about the fact that I am a Red Wing.”
He is a man that has had success in the and out of the salary cap era. He is a GM that players both love and respect. He once called a veteran who was popular to the side to let him know that he had better get in line with the coach.
In a day and age in pro sports where GM’s are weak and give in to the whims of their multi-millionaire players, he doesn’t. He would trade his best player if he became a distraction and would go find some obscure player and get him in a late round of the draft.
Holland once described the draft to me like this, “It is easier to make picks early, anyone can pick up a magazine with the top prospects and make those picks. You win Cups in the late rounds.” Look at the Wings roster, look where his players were picked and compare it to everyone else. Then tell me he isn’t the best.
In an era where players don’t trust management and the feeling is reciprocated, he is one of the most popular men who has his job in sports. “People, not just players trust Kenny,” was how Steve Yzerman described him to me.
Ken Holland proves that you can run your team with integrity, honesty, and an iron fist, and still win and, most of all, still be respected.
All signs point to the Wings winning the cup up 3-2. Whether they do or not you can count on them being in the hunt again as long as the name Holland hangs from the door of the GM’s office.
He isn’t perfect, but nowhere in professional sports, any sport, is anyone better.