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Ken Holland, former general manager of the Oilers, talks about leaving the team


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Sam Jones
July 9, 2024  (9:14)
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Holland of the Oilers, talks about leaving the team
Photo credit: Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers

Former Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland recently shared insights about his departure from the organization during an interview with Pierre Lebrun of The Athletic.

Holland, who has a storied history with the Detroit Red Wings, decided it was time to step away from his role with the Oilers.
I just think it's time to see what the future holds.

Holland's long tenure with the Red Wings earned him respect and admiration from many, including the Ilitch family. Despite being asked to stay by both Steve Yzerman and the Ilitch family, Holland found the opportunity to lead the Oilers irresistible.
Steve Yzerman came in. Steve asked me to stay. The Ilitch family asked me to stay. But when the opportunity came up to go to Edmonton, I thought it was an opportunity of a lifetime.

During his five years with the Oilers, Holland transformed the team into a consistent playoff contender, reaching the conference finals and the Stanley Cup finals. After a disappointing loss last season, Holland and the team aimed to make it to the Stanley Cup finals, a goal they achieved this year.
The 2023-2024 season started poorly for the Oilers, placing them 31st out of 32 teams by late November. In response, Holland made the bold decision to fire head coach Jay Woodcroft and assistant coach Dave Manson, bringing in rookie head coach Kris Knoblauch and legendary Oilers defenseman Paul Coffey as assistant coach.
This move proved to be pivotal as the Oilers surged in the standings, nearly clinching the top spot in the Pacific Division. Although they fell short in game seven of the Stanley Cup finals, Holland felt the team had accomplished a great deal.
Fan reactions to Holland's management were mixed, with successful moves like the Zach Hyman deal and less favorable ones like the Jack Campbell signing, which led to a buyout this offseason.
I'm all good,
Holland said.
I'm in a good spot. I loved my five years here. Now we'll see.

Looking ahead, Holland believes he still has the capability to serve as a general manager in the NHL. At 68, he feels his health and mind are sharp, but he is also open to a reduced role as a senior advisor.
Do I think I have the energy and the passion and the desire to be a general manager again? Yeah, I do,
Holland said.
I'm 68 years old, but I feel like I'm a young 68. But do I also think maybe it's someone else's time and maybe there's a reduced role for me like senior adviser? Yeah, that could be interesting.

Holland's tenure gave Oilers fans an exciting run, and his interim successor Jeff Jackson is poised to continue that success with some impressive moves and trades this offseason.
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Ken Holland, former general manager of the Oilers, talks about leaving the team

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