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Oh brother, what a series – B.C. siblings’ teams in NHL conference final

Ken Holland (Edmonton GM), Dennis Holland (Dallas scout) meet with Stanley Cup final berth on line

Thanks to Connor McDavid, older brother has the early upper hand against younger brother.

The National Hockey League’s Western Conference final – with the winner advancing to play for the Stanley Cup – features the Edmonton Oilers against the Dallas Stars. Edmonton won Game 1 Thursday, May 23, with McDavid scoring in the opening minute of double overtime to give the Oilers a 3-2 victory in Big D.

Vernon’s Ken Holland is in his fifth season as president of hockey operations and general manager of the Oilers, moving to Edmonton after 22 seasons as a scout and general manager with the Detroit Red Wings, winning four Stanley Cups in Motown (three as GM).

Younger brother Dennis Holland is in his 21st season as a scout with the Dallas Stars, who lost the 2020 Cup final to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The last time the Stars were in the final prior to that was in 2000, three years before Dennis joined the organization.

“I’m so proud of Dennis,” said Ken Friday morning, May 24. “He was a great player in Junior (Portland, Western Hockey League) and when I was Western scout for Detroit, we drafted him in the third round (1987). He was a great American Hockey League player but never made it to the NHL. He tried coaching for a bit win Toledo but he really found his passion in scouting.

“Dallas has built an incredible team and they’re a great organization.

“We (Dennis) haven’t talked. I texted him after we beat Vancouver, and I texted him before Game 1, saying we’ll talk after the series.

“We both want to win and advance to the next level.”

Asked if there was any kind of friendly wager on the series, Dennis simply said, “No.”

Both Hollands have spent their entire NHL careers in the Western Conference. Yet this is only the second time the two brothers have faced each other in the post-season.

“The first was in 2008 and they beat us in six games (Detroit went on to beat Pittsburgh for the Stanley Cup),” said Dennis. “It’s incredible, really, that this is only the second time we’ve gone against one another.”

Caught in the literal middle of the family feud is sister Diane Bowers, the second of three kids born to Rienie and Lee Holland in Vernon. Both parents have passed away.

Bowers posted a picture on Facebook prior to Game 1 of her wearing one Dallas sock, and one Edmonton sock. She would be happy for either brother, she said, to advance to the Stanley Cup final.

”How exciting for our family right now knowing we will have a team in final,” said Bowers, who did admit when the two teams faced each other three times in the regular season, she was hoping for tie games, and whoever needed the one point more in overtime or a shootout to get it.

“It really is a hockey family’s dream come true. We can’t win and we can’t lose. It’s a win-win for us Hollands.”

That being said, Bowers admitted to being anxious prior to Game 1 because she knows one brother’s dream will continue after the series, and one brother’s season will be over.

“It’s so hard to win a Stanley Cup and there is no guarantee either brother will be this close again,” she said. “I think my family can watch it with more objective eyes and not as emotional as me.”

Lots of friends have extended good wishes to all three siblings. And those who grew up with the Hollands in Vernon know that the city will be represented in the Cup final. Bowers echoed the comments of both brothers when asked for a prediction.

“Both are really good teams with different strengths. Just hoping for a good, long series,” she said.

And all three Holland kids know mom and dad are looking down, smiling. The Hollands were longtime fixtures with Vernon Minor Hockey.

“My mom and dad would be thrilled,” said Bowers. “My mom would be a nervous wreck. She would be so stressed but a happy stress. My dad would be quietly taking it all in and beaming with pride that his boys and their teams are in the Western Conference Final.

“We are a hockey family and all grew up at the old Civic Arena. Here’s hoping for another Stanley Cup party in the Holland family.”

The Oilers and Stars are meeting in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the ninth time in their history, with this year’s meeting being the first time they’ve met in the postseason since the 2003 Western Conference quarterfinals, which the Stars won four games to two.

Dallas has won six of the previous eight post-season series against the Oilers, including five straight playoff series dating back to Edmonton’s last win when Todd Marchant scored the OT winner in Game 7 of the 1997 quarters.

The Stars won two of the three regular-season meetings.

The teams face each other in Game 2 in Dallas Saturday, May 25 at 5 p.m.

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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