January 03, 2016
From 1979 to 1986 or so, the Montreal Canadiens had trouble settling on a number one goaltender. Perhaps part of the problem was the high expectations that came with the position. After all, Ken Dryden vacated the net at the of the 1970s, and Patrick Roy would rise to greatness by the mid-1980s.
In the mean time the Habs tried a number of goaltenders, including Denis Herron, Rick Wamsley, Richard Sevigny, and Steve Penney.
A long forgotten piece of the Canadiens' goaltending puzzle back then was a college kid from Weymouth, Massachusetts named Mark Holden. Montreal drafted Holden 160th overall in the 1977 NHL Amateur Draft after a solid freshman year at Brown University. He would go on to finish his degree in sociology and become a NCAA all star. He is a member of the Brown University Athletic Hall of Fame.
Upon turning pro in 1980 he would play solidly for four seasons with the Habs farm team in Nova Scotia. He would be recalled to Montreal a few times over those four seasons, appearing in a total of four games. But an 0-2-1 record with 3.77 goals against average and .765 save percentage in four games did not impress.
On October 9, 1984, Holden was traded to the Winnipeg Jets for veteran goalkeeper Doug Soetaert. Holden would play in parts of four games with the Jets in 1984-85, even getting credit for two wins. But he would be primarily a minor leaguer thanks to the development of popular youngsters Pokey Reddick and Daniel Berthiaume.
Mark Holden retired in 1986, living in Halifax. He worked construction jobs and developing his own real estate projects in the area. He also had his own plane and enjoyed coaching youth hockey.