I have had the distinct pleasure of working beside my good friend Dave Holland for more than three decades.
Unbeknownst to me, I had won that lifelong friendship before I even started working with Dave —- and why became immediately clear. On day one of my new job, as I was being introduced to the radio crew, John Eden took me into the newsroom and he said, “here’s our Sports Reporter, Dave Holland.” As I shook his hand, Dave’s very first words to me were, “so I hear you’re a Rick Vaive fan!” Word had somehow spread to Dave that among the belongings I brought to PEI was a Rick Vaive Toronto Maple Leafs jersey. That was 33 years ago, and Dave had already worked tirelessly for 18 years becoming the “Voice of PEI Sports.” Dave was a Leafs fan then because of Rick Vaive, and before that Errol Thompson. I soon realized Dave cheered for NHL teams based almost solely on PEI connections — he changes NHL teams like most of us change socks! A Red Wings fan for Turk, a Lightning fan for Brad Richards — you get the picture. It’s just one sign of his unending support for and promotion of sports in Prince Edward Island.
Dave began his radio career in the fall of 1969 in Newcastle, New Brunswick and moved north to Campbellton in 1970 where he was the colour commentator on Tigers senior hockey broadcasts. On April 1, 1972 Dave arrived in Charlottetown where he began his long career as an evening rock DJ. Quickly though, he started his association with PEI sports.
For the last 50-plus years he has witnessed some of the greatest moments in PEI sports history, and for those of us who couldn’t be there in person, Dave provided us with all the details and made us feel like we were. Almost every night of the week Dave was out covering a game or race – hockey, whether it was University, junior or senior league, AHL, or minor league tournaments like The Spud or Early Bird, baseball, harness racing with the Gold Cup and Saucer Trials and Finals, Governor’s Plate trials and finals; all the university sports; golf tournaments; Canada Games; every sports celebrity fundraising dinner. Almost every night he was out late covering all these sporting events and up early the next morning bringing us all the coverage and interviews with some of the best Island athletes and coaches we’ve ever known. I dare say there’s not a member of the PEI Sports Hall of Fame that Dave Holland has not interviewed at some point. For some of the bigger events, he was doing play-by-play on the radio bringing us all the action live and in real-time.
Why did he do this night after night for decades? — it’s because he loves sports in Prince Edward Island and he wants us all to know what it offers — the skill, the competition, the pride, and the joy. Dave Holland has quite simply been one of the greatest promoters of Prince Edward Island sports, whether it’s on a national stage, or at the provincial or community level. Through his career of fifty-plus years Dave has done this promotion mostly through the radio, becoming ”The Voice of PEI Sports” — but with the growth in technology, he’s found another way as well. Dave is the creator of PEI Pucks, a website he created that is dedicated to the history of hockey in Prince Edward Island. It details the stories of dozens and dozens of PEI teams, athletes, coaches and even venues — from junior hockey in the 1930s to current Philadelphia Flyer Zack MacEwen.
Outside of his work, Dave has contributed just as greatly at the grassroots level of sports in PEI. He has coached or managed minor league baseball, hockey, and served on tournament organizing committees; he’s served on league committees in other sports like football; been the PA announcer at countless events at rinks and fields across PEI; and emceed opening and closing ceremonies, or championship celebrations.
For his dedication to the promotion of sport in Prince Edward Island for over 50 years, I am honoured to stand before you tonight and welcome Dave Holland as a member of the Prince Edward Island Sports Hall of Fame.
Inducted by Scott Chapman