The Childlike Nick Holden: Puck Personality


“I just have as much fun as I can and just enjoy (the NHL experience) while I’m here.”–Nick Holden

According to Colorado Avalanche cornerstone defenseman Erik Johnson, Nick Holden is the “biggest child” on the team. to be fair, he said this in response to Holden’s sticking sweaty, smelly used tape on Johnson’s shoulder in the middle of an on-air interview.

Holden, the St. Alberta, Alberta, native simply likes to have fun. It probably runs in the family — remember the signs his female cousin held up during his NHL debut against the Edmonton Oilers:

"“I bathed with Nick Holden — taught him everything he needs to know during Tub Time.”"

While Holden called the sign “kinda embarrassing” at the time, growing up around that kind of humor certainly breeds it into you. Luckily, Holden’s one of those guys who gets as well as he gives. Remember that time his teammates festooned him with locker room debris while Captain Gabriel Landeskog pretended to fall asleep next to him?

Holden took it all in stride. In fact, he once said of his life philosophy:

"“There’s not much downside in life for me. It’s always positive. There’s nothing to be down about.”"

If that positive attitude comes out in the form of harmless locker room pranks, no one’s going to complain. (Not even Johnson, who once “shaved” fellow defenseman Ryan Wilson while he was being interviewed on live TV.)

Holden is just a humor magnet — like the time his skate blade broke clean off. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

In any case, Holden had a long road to get to the NHL. Prior to being signed by the Colorado Avalanche before the start of the 2013-14 season, the undrafted Holden had only played in seven NHL games, all of them with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Avalanche had been keeping an eye on Holden for awhile. When a couple openings came up at the bottom of the D-line, they invited Holden into the mix. The young defenseman understood he’d have to work hard to make the team. While maintaining his positive attitude, he admitted, “In my mind, I didn’t think I would start the year here. I thought I’d be down in Lake Erie.”

Holden genuinely thought he’d have to do his time down in Lake Erie, impressing while playing with the Monsters. He fully expected to work hard and, hopefully, make the team in his second year with the organization. Yet, as we know, he made the team right out of camp. In fact, he became such an integral part of the Avalanche blue line that they offered him a three-year contract extension over the summer.

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Holden is a depth defenseman with some offensive ability. He even earned three goals during the 2014 Playoffs. While a tall guy — 6-foot-4 — he lacks the hulking bulk of a Johnson or Jan Hejda. Nonetheless, Holden has shown it’s not all yucks with him — he’ll get in opponents’ faces, as he did against the Minnesota Wild in the season opener.

Family man Holden — he’s married with two young sons — thinks he might like to adopt a trade in his post-hockey career. Growing up, he apparently wanted to get into carpentry or plumbing. “I like to do hands-on kind of stuff.”

If that doesn’t work out, there’s always kindergarten teacher — he could be the “biggest child” amongst the masses of five-year-olds.

Until then, though, the Avalanche are content to keep him on the blue line, currently partnered with Tyson Barrie. So, Avs Nation, what do you think of the “childlike” Nick Holden?

The Erik Johnson comment: