Ken Holland enters his 22nd season as general manager of the Red Wings and his 36th year with the organization. Currently the second-longest tenured general manager in the National Hockey League, Holland has overseen the Red Wings' hockey operations department during the most successful run in team history through an era that has seen the organization earn more on- ice accolades than any other franchise.
Under Holland's watch, the franchise has won four Presidents' Trophies (2002, '04, '06, '08), captured 10 division championships (1999, '01, '02, '03, '04, '06, '07, '08, '09, '11), won five regular-season conference titles (2002, '04, '06, '07, '08) and reached at least 100 regular-season points a league-high 13 times in the last 17 seasons (excluding the shortened 2012-13 campaign). No other organization has had more than 10 100-point seasons in the same span. Since Holland was appointed to his current position in July 1997, the Red Wings have more wins (1,012) than any other franchise in the NHL, including 893 regular-season wins and 119 playoff victories. Detroit also made the playoffs in each of Holland's first 19 seasons at the helm, comprising the majority of a run of 25-straight seasons in which the team qualified for the postseason from 1990-2016 - the third-longest streak in NHL history. The Red Wings have won four Stanley Cup championships (1997, '98, '02 and '08) with Holland in the organization, the most recent three coming with his role as general manager, with additional appearances in the Stanley Cup Final in 1995 and 2009.
With a focus on developing a consistently competitive franchise through scouting, drafting and developing talent from within, Holland led a scouting staff that selected an NHL-high 20 players combined between the 2017 and 2018 NHL Entry Drafts and holds 10 picks for the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, as of the beginning of the 2018-19 campaign. As general manager, Holland signed homegrown talent such as Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Niklas Kronwall and Johan Franzen to long-term contracts to help sustain the Red Wings' success and winning culture. Over the past several seasons, the Red Wings have welcomed a new wave of young talent assembled through recent drafts to take on larger roles with the team, including Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha, who led the team in points and goals, respectively, in 2017-18, as well as Andreas Athanasiou and rookies Tyler Bertuzzi and Martin Frk, who each earned full-time roles with the team after helping the American Hockey League's Grand Rapids Griffins capture their second Calder Cup championship in five seasons in 2017.
Holland, 62, 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. Holland began his off-ice career in 1985 following a professional career as a goaltender, primarily in the American Hockey League. He started with the Red Wings organization as a western Canada scout, followed by seven years as amateur scouting director and three years as assistant general manager. During his time as a scout, Holland was involved in or oversaw the drafts that netted Red Wings mainstays including Nicklas Lidstrom, Sergei Fedorov, Vladimir Konstantinov, Slava Kozlov, Darren McCarty and Chris Osgood, who all played integral roles on Detroit's championship teams over the next two decades.
The 11th general manager in club history, Holland has steered the Red Wings through significant changes in the NHL's landscape, perhaps none more challenging than the introduction of the NHL's salary cap. In 2005-06, after drastically cutting payroll to comply with cap limitations, he assembled a team that won the second-most games in Red Wings' history (58) and the Presidents' Trophy. Detroit went on to win 50, 54 and 51 games over the next three seasons to become just the third team in NHL history to record 50-or-more wins in four consecutive seasons. The team posted a 54-21-7 record in 2007-08 to capture the franchise's sixth Presidents' Trophy and 11th Stanley Cup championship, and returned to the Stanley Cup Final the following season, falling just one game short of becoming the first team to repeat as Stanley Cup champions since the Red Wings of 1997 and 1998. For his efforts, Holland was named the NHL's GM of the Decade (2000-09) by SportsIllustrated.com.
Other managerial highlights in Holland's more than two decades as general manager include acquiring a then 36-year-old Chris Chelios at the 1999 NHL trade deadline in an effort to strengthen the Red Wings' roster in a bid for a third-straight Stanley Cup championship. That team ultimately fell short, but Chelios would go on to play 10 seasons for the Red Wings and contribute to the 2002 and 2008 Stanley Cup championship teams. During the summer of 2001, Holland traded for goaltender Dominik Hasek and signed free agent forward Luc Robitaille over a 24-hour period, and added Brett Hull later in the summer to an already-stacked roster that would amass 116 regular-season points and win the 2002 Stanley Cup. Widely regarded as one of the best teams in NHL history, nine players from that roster are currently in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
A native of Vernon, British Columbia, Holland played in the junior ranks for WHL's Medicine Hat Tigers in 1974-75. He was Toronto's 13th pick (188th overall) in the 1975 NHL Entry 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. On the international stage, Holland served as associate director for Hockey Canada at the Winter Olympic Games in 2010 (Vancouver) and 2014 (Sochi). Team Canada captured the gold medal at both tournaments, putting together one of the most dominant runs in international hockey history in 2014 after never trailing in any game and surrendering just three goals against during their undefeated 6-0 tournament. Ken and his wife, Cindi, reside in suburban Detroit and have four children: Brad, Julie, Rachel and Greg.