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BLOG: Finding a coach is Holland's first priority

"Certainly, as I go forward here, that's going to be probably priority No. 1," said Oilers General Manager and President of Hockey Operations Ken Holland

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - Ken Holland knows what his opening order of business as Oilers General Manager and President of Hockey Operations will be.

The first thing is first: find a head coach to man the Oilers bench in the 2019-20 season.

"It's a key, key decision in every organization," Holland, who spent 36 years with the Detroit Red Wings franchise prior to joining the Oilers, said. 

"You've got your general manager and head coach, and you've got to work hand-in-hand. Certainly, as I go forward here, that's going to be probably priority No. 1."

Video: 1-ON-1 | Ken Holland

Holland confirmed on Tuesday that he would not be appointing Ken Hitchcock as the Oilers bench boss going forward.

"This is an opportunity for me to make a change," he said. "I talked to Ken last night. I've got a relationship going back 25-30 years with Ken. I just think it was time to make a change and an opportunity for me to go through a process to hire a coach."

Holland divulged into how he likes the relationship between the general manager and head coach to operate.

"I'd like to find a coach that I can go to work with," the 63-year-old said. "I hired Mike Babcock, and I worked with Mike for 10 years. Before Mike, I had Dave Lewis for two years and I've had Jeff Blashill, and this is year four.

Video: RAW | Ken Holland Press Conference

"I need to find a coach that we're going to work with. That we're going to bunker in and we're going to go to work with one common goal. This is an opportunity for me to go through that process and find that coach."

After Holland names a coach, the work will continue as a variety of events are upcoming over the course of the summer.

"July 1st is free agency," said the Vernon, BC, product. "There's the NHL Draft. You've got to have your amateur meetings. There's the NHL Combine. You've got to have your pro meetings. You've got to negotiate contracts of players whose contracts are up. And then obviously, there's staff."

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