Remembering Joseph Z. Holody 1927-2023

On the morning of December 27, 2023, our incredible Dad, loving husband, supportive grandfather and recent great grandfather was called to join our Lord, to begin his eternal life, in Heaven.

He was predeceased by his father, Frank (1963), his son, Joey (1980), his sister, Mary (1990) and his mother, Barbara (2000).

He is survived by his devoted wife of 71 years, Barbara, his children, Barbara (Bruce) Bent, Robert (Patti) Holody and Rosemary Holody, his grandchildren Robert (Emily) Bent, Barbie (Dan) Bent-Sutton, Shannon Bent, Krystin (Charlie) Holody-Pokora, Joey Holody and his great grandchildren Franklin Pakora and Onyx Bent.

Joe was born in Orzechow, Poland on April 27, 1927.  He emigrated to Canada, specifically Guelph, as a young boy and went to a variety of elementary schools and GCVI high school.  He had a passion for chemistry and worked at Hygrade Metal until he founded Holody Electro Plating Ltd., in 1955.

Joe played hockey, as a young man in Guelph, with the likes of Lou Fontinato and Hall of Famer Harry Howell as part of the Guelph Biltmore Junior B Hockey Club.  After Joe’s career ended, his passion for the sport remained.  He managed and helped coach many players on various teams in the Guelph Minor Hockey League, influencing many young boys, inspiring a dedicated work ethic.

With business success, he continued to give back with countless sponsorships in hockey here in Guelph and donations to many other organizations including Arc Industries, the General Hospital and Hospice, to name a few.

Joe’s hockey contribution in Guelph has become legendary!  During the 1960’s and early 70’s, he became part owner of the tier 2 junior A CMC’s, and then in 1975, purchased the team himself and renamed it the “Holody Platers”.  In September 1975, Joe worked with the Guelph Minor Hockey Association to forge an agreement between the Platers & GMHA to arrange minor hockey, Junior A, and Junior B in Guelph under a single structure, providing Guelph players with a better opportunity for development and advancement.

The Platers were the first franchise in history to achieve the coveted Centennial Cup double victory in 1978, paired with the CMC’s win in 1972.  The Platers were such a dominant force that they were named the Tier 2 “Franchise of the Century”, and presented with the OHA Centennial Award at the OHA 100th Anniversary Dinner in 1991!

Following this feat, after a long and costly fight, Joey was able to bring back Major Junior A hockey, to Guelph, as an OHL expansion team in 1982.  The new Guelph Platers were the quickest team in history to win the Memorial Cup – on May 17, 1986 – the team’s 4th season of existence in the OHL.

At the conclusion of the 1998-99 season, the OHL introduced the Holody Trophy, named in honour of Joe, and awarded to the winner of the Midwest Division.

Joe was inducted into the Guelph Sports Hall of Fame on May 8th, 1995.

“Smokin’ Joe” (known for always having a cigar at hand) received the City of Guelph Award of Merit for Sports Contribution in 1978, was named Man of the Year for Guelph in 1981, and received the Gold Stick award from the OHA in 1983 for outstanding service to the game.

Joe’s influence has reached far afield in endeavours to help many organizations, in Guelph.  In September 1975, 500 people attended opening ceremonies as Joe cut the ribbon to open Holody Home - a residence for mentally handicapped adults – named in honour of Joe’s tireless efforts in assisting the handicapped community.  In 1980, he was awarded the Order of Merit from the province of Ontario for his work with the mentally handicapped. Most recently, the Arc Industries gym was named in Joe’s honour, after his major capital campaign donation.

In 1987, Joe received the Olympic 88 medallion for his sponsorship of the games in Canada, and he received one of the 1,984 specially minted Bicentennial medallions, awarded to Canadians who have given of themselves, tirelessly, time and time again to build a better society and enrich the lives of others.

His business awards include the city of Guelph Award of Merit for business and betterment of its citizens, in 1977 and he earned a spot in the Canadian Association of Metal Finishers Hall of Fame, in 2001, for his industry leadership, compassion and forthrightness.

In 2007, the Polish Alliance of Canada honoured him with the Order of Merit for his devotion to enrich our multicultural nation.

He has earned the prestigious Governor General award of Excellence and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, in 2012, for good work, good deeds and leadership.

All these accolades speak of a man who was so kind and generous, who helped all who came to ask, with whatever he had, who encouraged and inspired, who set an inspirational example of dedication and devotion and had a fierce love of family and respect for all others.

As children, he would always tell us,

“Remember that in life, the rake goes both ways! You must never use it just to gather for yourself, but rather to push your goodwill outwards, to others in need."

That saying describes Joe Holody to a tee.

Joseph Z. Holody | April 27th, 1927 - Dec. 27th, 2023Joseph Z. Holody | 1927-2023

Holody FamilyHolody Family

1978 Centennial Cup1978 Centennial Cup

1986 Memorial Cup1986 Memorial Cup