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Why Do Fans Hate Nick Holden?

Poor guy. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

One of the Golden Knights’ major additions this offseason was bringing in defenseman Nick Holden as a free agent. The 6’4″ versatile defenseman has scored 10 goals twice and has tallied 20 or more points three times in his career. He’s responsible defensively and is consistently deployed to start shifts in his own zone (56% career D-Zone Starts).

However, the moment Holden’s signing to Vegas was announced, a barrage of hate was thrown towards the Golden Knights by fans of Holden’s previous teams, the Avalanche, Rangers, and Bruins. Look…

But why? Why is it pretty much universal when you ask fans what they think of Holden they react negatively? To find the answer, we went straight to the source and asked the man himself, why does everyone hate you?

I think cause I’m not a real flashy guy. I try to do the little things right all the time. I won’t make any real big plays where fans will notice me. They’ll notice when I get scored on and they won’t notice anything else. They won’t notice if I block a shot. Most fans like the offensive guys and the tough guys and I’m neither. -Nick Holden

What Holden does is play good defense. Holden has posted four consecutive seasons with a defensive point share of over 2.5 and registered a 3.9 in each of the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons. For reference, only Brayden McNabb (5.0) and Nate Schmidt (4.8) scored over 3.9 for Vegas last year.

I learned a few years ago to not really watch that stuff, it just matters what happens in here (the locker room). -Holden

We’ll see what Vegas fans eventually think of Holden when he hits the ice for the Golden Knights for real. Odds are they’ll hate him too, even though he’s a really good player, just not the right kind of really good player.



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  1. Kat

    Nick Holden started practicing with Deryk Engelland, Ryan Carpenter, Gage Quinney and a bunch of minor league players a couple weeks before the Furefights charity event that he and Engo played in. I watched every VGK practice Nick has been a part of and I really like watching him. I met him, his lovely wife and their 3 kids. Great family. She was expecting their 4th which arrived on Wednesday. Congrats Nick. I don’t know how Nick will be in a game but in Practice he is always shooting. One day he scored 3 times in a row on Fleury. Nick fell down and Mark Andre Fleury went and sat on him to let Nick know that it’s not OK to score on him. He seems to get along with everyone. I maybe the only one but I love Nick Holden.

  2. There is a pervasive negativism in all American sports culture. Hockey is no different. Vegas Golden Knights have done and will continue to do a remarkable job at changing that. The Herculean effort it takes to not only have some minor affect on a culturelet alone change it cannot be disregarded, and this team has done the heavy lifting.

    Nick Holden, like Luca Spisa, suffers from an oppressive hazing from the negativity of participants in the culture. I recall reading one opinion of Luca Spisa on his experience with the team he was at before coming to Vegas likening him to “a traffic cone” where opposing players skated around him. That mean-spirited demonizing is common. I saw Luca Spisa in practice and all I could say is “look what the Vegas coaching staff is exercising him like a jungle gym look at that holy cow!” The dexterity Spisa exhibited during figure-eight drills to me was amazing yet the negativity around him was persistent.

    I suspect Holden, like Spisa, will continue to collect used arrows as people will use him for target practice on social media as they are accustomed to doing. I’m glad to hear he remains positive and maintains a positive mental attitude and disregards the typical guffaw unfairly tossed at him.

    The Vegas Golden Knights team in its entirety from the ownership, to the leadership, the coaches, the players, the production staff, everyone involved. They are changing the face and nature of hockey. No longer is hostility and negativity acceptable as it has been in the past. We as a community of fans supporting them are radically different on the whole than other fan bases and together we will achieve more being positive. This is true, as proven by Coach Gallant and his “work hard, compete hard” mantra that makes every day fun. The players have fun, the whole team enjoys being together, the culture is better as more positive.

    • Thanks for this perspective, Christopher. I completely agree. The positivity that emanates from the team to the fans is a welcomed change from typical negative sports culture.

    • Patrick Murphy

      Holy socks Chris! That was so well written. Are you a professional writer? Live the positive ! See at warm ups as always.

  3. Daniel Foley

    Sounds like a Golden Misfit to me

  4. Travis Bickle

    Was at first exhibition and fans are starting to mimic Nashville with the “you suck” chants. Do we need that? I’d rather see (hear) us continue to cheer for VGK and not pay any heead to the opposition. Well maybe for Doughty, that’s the only exception so far.

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