Connect with us

Uncategorized

How Ken Holland went from vacuum salesman to Hockey Hall of Fame inductee

Published

on


EDMONTON — This is the story of the door-to-door vacuum salesman who almost didn’t make it to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Or, the Hockey Hall of Famer who almost became a vacuum salesman.

Whichever way you view Ken Holland’s favourite story, and whether or not you’ve heard it before, the turning point in Holland’s professional life is a place to drop the puck as we tell the story of a minor-league goalie — a 12th-round draft pick of the Maple Leafs back in 1975 — who enters the Hall in the builder’s category on Hall of Fame weekend.

Advertisement

“It’s 1985,” begins Holland, setting the scene at age 66. “Our kids are four, two and one. We’ve gone back to Vernon B.C., and Cindi (Holland, a nurse) gets a job at the Vernon hospital. I get the job at the Vernon Liquor store, and we’re in my parents’ basement.

“We’re lookin’ for a place to live. But we’ve got jobs.”

Stream every Oilers game this season with new pricing options! SN NOW STANDARD and PREMIUM let you choose how much hockey you want to watch.

That’s what nine years as a minor league goalie had bought Holland: Four games in the NHL, and a room in his parents’ basement.

“He’s a humble, humble person,” Steve Yzerman would later explain.

Advertisement

No kidding…

But Holland is still telling his favourite story.

“One day I come home from the liquor store, and my Mom says to me, ‘Ken, I hear the phone’s been ringing from your agent. How are things going looking for a hockey job?’”

Holland — “Mom, I’m 29 years old. I’m not a prospect anymore. It’s not very good.”

Mom — “What are you going to do if you don’t get a hockey job?”

Advertisement

Holland — “I have a Grade 12 education. All I know is hockey. Cindi is going to work at the hospital, I’m going to go to Okanagan College for two years, then I’m going to go to UBC and get some kind of a degree.”

Mom — “Ken, you’re 29 years old. You’ve got three kids under the age of four. You’ve got to put food on the table.”

Holland is rolling now.

“She says, ‘Ken, in the Want Ads in the Vernon newspaper, Electrolux is looking for a salesperson in the area. I’ve had an Electrolux vacuum my whole life, it’s the best vacuum on the market. I called the 1-800 number. You get 25 per cent of every sale.

“She says, ‘I’m going to be your first sale. And I talked to Grandma Isbrecht, and she’s going to be your second sale.’ I’m thinking to myself, ‘This is going pretty good.’ So I ask my Mom: “Any idea on the status of Aunt Emma’s vacuum?’ She said, ‘Ken, family takes care of family. I’m sure you’re going to get a sale there.’

Advertisement

“So, I’d sold three vacuums and I hadn’t even taken the job yet! Now I’ve got to leave 23rd Street and start walking down 39th Avenue. Start banging on doors, though I’m not sure that’s something I really want do…”

This was it. The big moment.

Sign up for NHL newsletters

Get the best of our NHL coverage and exclusives delivered directly to your inbox!

NHL Newsletter

Please enter a valid email

Advertisement

Thanks for subscribing!

*I understand that I may withdraw my consent at any time.

Vacuums, maybe some part-time at a liquor store in the B.C. interior, and probably some beer league hockey.

Advertisement

That’s where nearly 30 years on this earth had left Kenneth Mark Holland.

Was this it…?

“By fate, two or three days later the phone rings,” Holland says, wrapping up his tale. “It’s Bill Dineen, my minor league coach with the Adirondack Red Wings, and he’d recommended to (Detroit GM) Jim Devellano and Neil Smith that they hire me as a scout.

“And the rest is history.”

Holland’s history, as it turns out, has been as folksy, approachable — and successful — as any of his peers. He won three Stanley Cups as the Red Wings GM, another as assistant GM, and still hosts a golf tournament in Vernon each summer for friends and colleagues.

Advertisement

He even trained his replacement in Detroit, working with Steve Yzerman from the time of Yzerman’s retirement to his departure for Tampa Bay, before moving aside when Yzerman returned to run the Red Wings.

“I learned a lot from Kenny, even before I retired,” Yzerman corrected over the phone from Detroit. “Talking about the league, players, signings… I always talked about things with him, and the four years after I retired, we talked about contracts, how he managed situations, how he handled things. The logic behind the decisions that he had to make. It was a tremendous education.

“Kenny was very, very selfless. To this day I talk to him about things. He hasn’t changed a bit. He is very, very humble.”

We’ve met a lot of GMs over the years. Personable ones who will call a scribe back or sit in the seats of a practice rink and kibitz over coffee. And more private ones who keep you at a distance, seeing no value in a relationship with someone that ranks below them on hockey’s off-ice ladder.

Then there is Holland, who will take 82 pre-game suppers at the press meal, an in-arena dinner put on for scouts, media and support staff. In Edmonton, Holland keeps a table for him and his staff. But it is right there among the rest of that night’s game staff and the media. Same food, same folks, watching the same Eastern Conference games on the same TVs as everyone else.

Advertisement

Where you can go a season or two without ever seeing Oilers owner Daryl Katz, Holland is around every night, as approachable at home as he is on the road.

“You’d have to ask him why he always calls you back or whatever,” Yzerman said. “But I think he goes into the press room to talk hockey with other managers, scouts, media people… At the end of the day he just enjoys talking about what’s going on around the league with other teams and players. It’s why he enjoys managing — he enjoys talking to people about hockey.”

As Holland takes on a new team and one last challenge in Edmonton, there is no sense that he has the job mastered. That those three Cups in Detroit make him a lock for a few more in Edmonton. Like he has the secret sauce.

He can bring the process to Western Canada the same way he’d have lugged an Electrolux up the front walk. He’s got a good product, an honest pitch, and some experience at changing out the odd beater bar.

“What I learned is, you’ve just got to stick with it,” Holland said. “If you want to win a Stanley Cup, you’ve got to be in the playoffs this year, you’ve got to be in the playoffs next year, you’ve got to be in the playoffs the year after… You can’t make the playoffs twice in 10 years and think you’re going to win the Stanley Cup.”

Advertisement

He focuses down on his current team: “That (playoff) loss to Winnipeg last year, I can’t say it’s going to serve the team, but it’s going to serve somebody that played on that team. We’re going to learn and grow from it — and maybe there are three or four (players who grow from the lesson).

“In Detroit we had multiple disappointments: in ’93 and ’94. Then in ’95 we think we’re over the hump, we go to the Final and get swept by New Jersey. In ’96 we had 62 wins and we lose in the third round. You stick with it, you stick with it… I’m just trying to make the team better this year than it was last year.

“Talking to Jon Cooper, for (Tampa) it was a six or seven-year journey to win back-to-back Stanley Cups.”

Holland will stop in Toronto to be inducted as part of the Class of 2020 this weekend, where he’ll scarcely take a step without running into someone who wants to offer a congratulations.

“Whether it’s someone in another organization, in Europe, with a junior team, media…” said Detroit pro scout Kirk Maltby. “It just seems like everyone loves having a conversation with Ken. He has a wealth of knowledge on his own, but he also has access to a lot of information.

Advertisement

“Do I think he has a chance to take Edmonton on a long run? Absolutely.”



Source link

Uncategorized

AS Roma Serie A 2022-23 season preview, predictions: Jose Mourinho adds top talent as expectations rise

Published

on



It was one of the most exciting summers for AS Roma of the last decade as Giallorossi won their first UEFA trophy in May when they lifted the UEFA Conference League. It was a moment of change for the club’s history, as it was also followed by very intriguing summer transfer business when the club signed players such as Nemanja Matic, Gini Wijnaldum and most importantly free agent Paulo Dybala. The excitement among the fans is unbelievable and put more pressure on the team and the coach, who are now called to create something special during the season. AS Roma have all the cards now to become one of the main clubs to watch out this season. 

Here’s what to know about them ahead of the season kicking off this weekend:

Paramount+ is the only place to watch every minute of every Serie A match this season. Sign up now with offer code ITALY to get a special one month free trial. A subscription also gives you access to other sports content including the UEFA Champions League and Europa League, NWSL, NFL on CBS, and countless movies and shows. Get it all free for one month with promo code ITALY.  

Advertisement

Summer transfer business

Dybala to AS Roma was probably the most unexpected and interesting transfer of the summer. The 28-year-old came to grips with his decision late in the summer after he failed to agree to terms on a contract extension with Juventus and despite his agent previously holding talks with Inter Milan. The Nerazzurri moved in another direction as soon as Romelu Lukaku became available for a reunion via loan from Chelsea. And from that moment on, there were no further talks with Dybala’s camp. The veteran striker waited for several weeks, hoping that the club could squeeze him in by way of several other players potentially leaving the club. But things didn’t change at all and AS Roma jumped in the race to sign the striker.  

“The days that have led up to me signing this contract have been filled with so many emotions,” Dybala said after officially joining Roma. “The speed and determination with which Roma demonstrated just how much they wanted me made all the difference. I am joining a team that is on the up, a club that continues to put in place strong foundations for the future, and a coach, Jose Mourinho, that it will be a privilege to work with. As an opponent I have always admired the atmosphere created by the Roma fans – I now cannot wait for the chance to salute them while wearing this shirt”. 

Dybala was unveiled in front of more than ten thousand fans in Rome and all the Giallorossi crowd is eager to see him playing for their beloved club. 

Apart from Dybala, AS Roma managed to sign free agent Matic, who is a player that Jose Mourinho knows really well from his past experiences at Chelsea and Manchester United. The club also signed right back Zeki Celik from Lille, goalkeeper Mile Svilar and Wijnaldum on loan from Paris Saint Germain. Also, there were no real exits, as AC Milan permanently signed Alessandro Florenzi and Olympique Marseille signed Jordan Veretout, both of which were expected. Key player Nicolò Zaniolo, who was in talks with Juventus during the summer, is now expected to stay at the club despite the fact that his contract is expiring in the summer of 2024 and talks have stalled in the past months. 

Advertisement

What to expect from AS Roma  

There is a lot of attention and expectations around the club this season after a very solid transfer window and the UEFA Conference League’s victory of the last season. Jose Mourinho needs to improve the performances in the domestic league and AS Roma’s main target has to be to arrive in the top four and qualify for the UEFA Champions League’s group stage. “The Special One” is always looking to win more trophies and Giallorossi can be considered as one of the favorites for the Coppa Italia alongside the other top teams. At the European level, the UEFA Europa League won’t be an easy one considering the level of the competitors, but the fact that Roma won the first edition of the UEFA Conference League has to be taken into account. 

Three players to watch out

Paulo Dybala: The Argentinian striker will have all the eyes on him and there are a lot of expectations around his potential impact on the squad. His performances will be key to understand how the team will perform during the season. 

Gianluca Mancini: Last year he had a very solid season. We talked a lot about strikers and midfielders but his performances will tell us a lot about how well this side can do this year as they look for stability. 

Nicolò Zaniolo: He’s now set to stay at the club. Last season was quite disappointing and there are way more expectations this season, especially after the arrival of Dybala. If Zaniolo performs better, the whole team will benefit from it. It will be on Mourinho’s shoulders to find a way to find a space in this team for him. 

AS Roma predictions

  • Serie A finish: 4th 
  • Top scorer: Tammy Abraham 
  • Player of the season: Dybala 
  • Something unexpected: AS Roma will bring back Francesco Totti to the club’s board. 



Source link

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Uncategorized

Barcelona activate fourth ‘lever’ with €100 million sale of stake in club’s media arm

Published

on



Barcelona have sold a 24.5 percent stake in their media arm, activating the fourth of the so-called “economic levers” that they need to fulfil La Liga’s financial regulations and potentially register their new signings.

Orpheus Media, owned by Jaume Roures, have acquired their share in Barça Studios for the sum of €100 million with Barcelona having made the same deal with fan token platform Socios earlier this month. The club had also sold stakes in their television rights to Sixth Street in June and July as they bid to raise the cash that will ease their finances and allow them to incorporate new players into Xavi’s squad.

Barcelona have embarked on an ambitious overhaul of their playing staff this summer despite the crippling debts that president Joan Laporta estimated to be €1.3billion last year. Six new signings were made but the club headed into this weekend’s season opener against Rayo Vallecano unable to register those players, as well as the re-signed Sergi Roberto and Ousmane Dembele, due to La Liga regulations.

Advertisement

Want more soccer? Paramount+ is the only place to watch every minute of every Serie A match this season, not to mention select games in Italian. Sign up now with offer code ITALY to get a special one month free trial. A subscription also gives you access to other sports content including every UEFA Champions League and Europa League match, the NFL on CBS, and countless movies and shows. Get it all free for one month with promo code ITALY.  

The club did not confirm that this fourth lever would allow them to register every new recruit with La Liga, though this cash injection will naturally make it easier for some new players to formally be available for selection.

A club statement said: “FC Barcelona announces the sale of 24.5% of Barça Studios to the company Orpheus Media, managed by Mr. Jaume Roures, an audiovisual production company with a long history of producing content, for €100 million. The agreement complements the one signed on 29 July with Socios.com and will help to accelerate the growth of the club’s digital, NFT and Web 3 strategy.

“The sale was conducted under authorization of the General Assembly of FC Barcelona Members last October 23. With this investment the strategic partners in Barça Studios show confidence in the value of the project and the future of digital content in the world of sport.”

Want to hear more from Barca’s president? Listen to an exclusive interview below and follow ¡Qué Golazo! A Daily CBS Soccer Podcast where we take you beyond the pitch and around the globe for commentary, previews, recaps and more.

Advertisement

A further sale of the Studios had been widely expected but in recent days it had been reported that it would be GDA Luma, run by the president of Cirque du Soleil, Gabriel de Alba, that would be stumping up the nine figure sum. Instead it is Roures, owner of Mediapro, who has taken the stake. The Catalan media mogul reportedly provided the guarantees Laporta needed for his successful bid for the Barcelona presidency in 2021.

A statement on the Medium page of Socios said that, following the sale, Barça Studios would be renamed Barça Digital and Entertainment “to reflect its focus on accelerating the growth of the club’s NFTs and metaverse projects.” Socios added: “The addition of experience of growing global entertainment brands will allow FC Barcelona to accelerate its blockchain and Web3 strategies to provider greater connectivity with its global fan base and continue to grow the club’s network of fan communities and produce revenue streams in new geographies.”

In the more immediate term it could also allow Barcelona to sign Marcos Alonso. The veteran Chelsea left back would join the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Jules Kounde and Franck Kessie after a summer in which Laporta has committed to new signings worth over €150 million. The club would also like to sign Bernardo Silva from Manchester City while their own midfielder Frenkie De Jong is a target for Chelsea and Manchester United.

Speaking to CBS Sports earlier this month, Laporta insisted that selling off long term stakes in the club to facilitate an overhaul of the first team was the right thing to do. “The players we have signed this summer are investments not expenses. And our existing players understand this perfectly. The new signings adjust their salaries to the new structure that we have created and all we ask is the current squad, where possible, do the same.

Advertisement

“People outside the club don’t have all the information. We have to act this way or the club will probably disappear. We are not risking the club. On the contrary. I love Barcelona. So you can imagine, I don’t take any decisions that risk the future of the club and our 122 years of history.”



Source link

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Uncategorized

Three Stars from Day 3 of WJC: Canada’s McTavish joins elite company – Sportsnet.ca

Published

on


Canada and the U.S. dominated in their second game of the tournament while Czechia and Finland went toe-to-toe and needed a shootout to determine a winner on Day 3 of the World Junior Hockey Championship.

The Canadian team rebounded from a sluggish performance with an 11-1 win over Slovakia, a game in which captain Mason McTavish added his name to the country’s record books.

Against Switzerland, the United States took their game to another gear that their opponent could not match as they cruised to a 7-1 victory to improve to 2-0 at the tournament.

Advertisement

Finland dropped a crucial point as they had to overcome a 2-0 deficit but were able to pick up the shootout win over their rival Czechia.

Here is a look at the top performances from Day 3 of the world juniors.

3rd Star: Luke Hughes, USA

Coming from a great hockey family, Luke Hughes is making most of his opportunity as one of the top defencemen for the U.S. 

The younger brother of Quinn and Jack displayed his mobility and vision against Switzerland with a three-point effort. He now has five points in his first two games of the tournament — more than either of his brothers ever achieved at this event in fewer games.

Hughes leads all defenceman in scoring so far in the tournament and is tied for fourth overall.

Advertisement

The 18-year-old played 21:18 against the Swiss to lead the U.S. in ice time playing on the top pairing with Brock Faber. His play from this point will be a crucial part of his team’s success given the creativity he displayed, especially on Matt Coronato’s goal in the second period.

.acf-block-preview .instagram-twitter-container {
width: 340px;
margin: 0 auto;
}

He made another top-notch set up on Thomas Bordeleau’s power-play goal in the third period as he delayed enough to get the defenders to pull towards his side of the ice.

.acf-block-preview .instagram-twitter-container {
width: 340px;
margin: 0 auto;
}

2nd Star: Carter Mazur, USA

Coming into the tournament, Carter Mazur is looking to build off an impressive season at the University of Denver. 

Advertisement

While he was in a scoring slump in his first NCAA season, the Detroit Red Wings prospect made a call to his NHL team’s assistant director of player development, Daniel Cleary. After that, he would go on to finish with 14 goals and 38 points in 41 games.

Those tips have now turned Mazur into a scoring machine as he accounted for two of the team’s seven goals and was also named the player of the game as the top line of Mazur, Landon Slaggert, and Thomas Bordeleau had an impressive performance against Switzerland

After a scoreless first period, Mazur wasn’t going to make any mistake on a point-blank chance in front of the net with Mackie Samoskevich making a great pass from behind the net.

.acf-block-preview .instagram-twitter-container {
width: 340px;
margin: 0 auto;
}

With the Americans looking to add to their lead, Mazur was once again the beneficiary of a great pass from Slaggert as he made no mistake from the front of the net.

Advertisement

.acf-block-preview .instagram-twitter-container {
width: 340px;
margin: 0 auto;
}

He added another assist on Slaggert’s goal later in the period for his third point of the game. Through his first two games at the world juniors, Mazur has four points and is tied for sixth in scoring.

1st Star: Mason McTavish, Canada

On a night where Canada dominated from start to finish, Mason McTavish joined some elite company with a night he’ll certainly remember for a long time.

The 19-year-old joined Mario Lemieux, Simon Gagné, Brayden Schenn, Taylor Raddysh, Maxime Comtois and teammate Connor Bedard as the only players to score four goals in a single world junior game for Canada. The tournament record for goals in a single game is held by Sweden’s Ola Rosander who had six back in 1987.

With his performance against Slovakia in a dominant win for Canada, McTavish now sits atop the scoring lead with eight points in two games after registering six points in this game.

Advertisement

McTavish scored his first goal of the game on a breakaway — with Canada already leading 5-0 midway through the second — making no mistake to beat Tomas Bolo, who came into the game after starter Simon Latkoczy was pulled going into the second period.

His second goal came off a great play by Joshua Roy who flipped the puck in the air to Brennan Othmann who then set up McTavish as he finished with a backhander to put Canada up 7-1. McTavish would complete the second-period hat trick, a day after Alexander Blank did the same for Germany, after a selfless pass from Roy on a 2-on-0 break.

Canada would capitalize on a turnover on McTavish’s fourth goal as Othmann set him up alone in front of the net and he made no mistake.

.acf-block-preview .instagram-twitter-container {
width: 340px;
margin: 0 auto;
}

There was some doubt about whether McTavish would suit up for Canada after playing a fair amount of hockey last season. Making his NHL debut with the Anaheim Ducks, the third overall pick from the 2021 NHL Draft played in a total of 72 games between the NHL, AHL, OHL, Memorial Cup and the Olympics.

Advertisement

Instead, McTavish decided to join the team in Edmonton and take on the role as captain where he has excelled centring Canada’s top line with Bedard and and a rotation of Roy and Othmann.

Canada will now look forward to a matchup against Czechia with a chance to improve to 3-0.

.acf-block-preview .br-related-links-wrapper {
display: grid;
grid-template-columns: repeat(2, 1fr);
gap: 20px;
}

.acf-block-preview .br-related-links-wrapper a {
pointer-events: none;
cursor: default;
text-decoration: none;
color: black;
}




Source link

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Trending