Today the Hockey Hall of Fame named the list of those who will be honored as the 2020 class of inductees and while Red Wings legend Daniel Alfredsson has to wait, one former Red Wings great will be heading in as a builder:
We’ve spilled more than our fair share of pixels over the complex legacy of Ken Holland in Detroit, from his time as a scout through the dynasty years, the salary cap era, and the eventual demise of the empire. It’s fair to contextualize each of his achievements for a greater overall picture, but taken as a whole, it’s also just about impossible to say that this honor wasn’t due. The HHoF’s own bylaws define a builder:
Candidates for election as Honoured Members in the builder category shall be chosen on the basis of their coaching, managerial or executive ability, where applicable, their sportsmanship and character, and their contribution to their organization or organizations and to the game of hockey in general.
You don’t have to look much farther than the four Stanley Cups (three as GM and one as AGM) and the AGM gold medal victories for Team Canada in both the Olympics and the World Cup. Holland was willing to scout and put together teams creatively, manage financial leverage in trades, and even managed the huge transition to the salary cap era through its first iteration (before the second capped CBA changed the rules drastically on contract creativity he helped pioneer). His legacy isn’t perfect, but you won’t find a GM in this league over the last three decades who had as much of an impact on the sport as he did.
Congratulations to Ken Holland on his well-deserved induction into the HHoF.