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Guelph loses a hockey legend

Joe Holody, Guelph Sports Hall of Famer and the man who brought the OHL to Guelph in the form of the Guelph Platers, was 96

A Guelph sports legend has died.

Joe Holody, the longtime owner of the Guelph Platers hockey club and member of the Guelph Sports Hall of Fame, passed away Wednesday at the age of 96.

Known by many as ‘Smokin Joe,’ Holody was a mainstay in the hockey ranks.

Growing up in Guelph, Holody started Holody Electro-Plating in 1955, an electroplating business that still operates today on Victoria Road South.

It is where Guelph’s junior hockey team got the moniker 'Holody Platers' in 1975, when Holody became full owner of the team.

The team won multiple championships through the 70s and 80s at the Junior A level, including a Centennial Cup in 1978.

Joe and son Rob helped to get the Platers to the major junior ranks in 1982, though had to drop Holody from the team name due to a league rule around using commercial names.

No matter, the Guelph Platers – with Holody still at the head of the table as owner – were quite successful, winning the Memorial Cup in 1986 in just the team's fourth year in major junior. Rob was the general manager. The head coach of the team was Jacques Martin, now the interim head coach of the Ottawa Senators.

Game nights would find Joe in the west end stands at Memorial Gardens, stogie hanging from his mouth and longtime friend/hockey advisor Alex Campagnaro at his side.

The Holodys would move the team to Owen Sound in 1989, where they are now known as the Attack.

Joe sold the team at the end of the 1999-2000 season.

For his efforts, Holody was named 'Man of the Year' in Guelph in 1981, and was inducted into the Guelph Sports Hall of Fame in 1995 as a builder.

Multiple Platers teams would be enshrined in the same hall of fame in later years. Rob would also get inducted in 2014, making Joe and Rob the first father-son duo in the hall.

“Joe Holody is an outstanding citizen and we are proud to call him our own,” his hall of fame biography states.

His name still resonates with current junior hockey fans. The Holody Trophy, named in honour of Joe, is awarded every year to the winner of the Ontario Hockey League’s Midwest Division.

The Holody family is also known for their generosity, contributing to numerous charities over the years, including being strong supporters of the former Arc Industries on Speedvale Avenue, the precursor of Community Living Guelph.

Visitation is at Gilbert MacIntyre and Son Funeral Home, Hart Chapel, 1099 Gordon St. Friday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. with a vigil at 8:15pm. A funeral mass will be held on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at Sacred Heart Church.


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