BORN AUGUST 6TH, 1948, he started hockey in 1964 with the Monarchs in the Victorian League where, as legend has it, he and his brother were the only Australian-born players one season. He crossed briefly to the new Rangers but returned before being coaxed to the Demons in 1976. There, in Victoria's oldest ice hockey club, he recruited, coached and played with some of the best local and imported talent in the country. It was his presence that set a new standard, his demeanor that produced a second A-grade Premiership. He had several spells at the Demons, both as player and coach, and two with Hakoah (later Melbourne Jets) where he played hockey with his son in the 1995 premiership team.
He won nine A-grade premierships with Monarchs from 1967 to 1969 and 1972-73; Demons 1977; Hakoah 1980; Jets 1995; and Demons B-grade in 1988. His 427 league games are ranked 17th on the all-time list of most games played by over 3,800 Vic players since the war. His coaching was forthright and knowledgeable, his play fearless, his expectations on others high, his respect hard-earned and valued. A state representative over many years, he probably won the Goodall Cup seven times, but at least six — 1968, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1978 and 1982 — and the John Nicholas Trophy, the Goodall MVP, in 1976. He played for the Oakleigh Aces in the NIHL of the early 1980s, known with a certain trepidation in 1981 as the Oakleigh Golds.
He represented Australia at the C-Pool World Championships at Grenoble in France in 1974, combining with players such as Sandy Gardner and Jim Christie. “The incomparable Ian Holmes,” recalls Paul Rice of his first coach, “talented and accomplished, he garnered respect and fear from team mates and opponents alike”. He is revered at the Demons, especially for his masterful influence on an important phase of the Club. His brother Denis also played and his son, Simon, coached Tange (U15) for Victoria, consistently winning a record number of Championships which have risen well into double-figures. In 2016, Simon said of his father: "His first lead was with actions but he was never short of words when they were needed. My coach, my mentor and my dad, RIP mate. Your gifts keep giving".
Demon's legend, Paul Rice, wrote in 2015: "A much talented and accomplished player, he garnered respect and fear from team mates and opponents alike, with equal measure, throughout his time in IHV. He had a masterful influence in a very important phase of the history of the Demons IHC in particular. His passing in the early 2000s was a very sad day indeed!!
Ian Holmes was among the Victorians in this highlight reel from the 1969 Goodall Cup decider at Prince Alfred Park rink in Sydney between NSW and Victoria on August 4th. Teammates include John Thomas, Jimmie Christie, Rod Joslin, A Spence and P McEwan. NSW had won the first match of the series, 10-4, and Victoria the second, 5-3. NSW won the decider, 6-2, to win back the Cup which Victoria had held since 1965. The Vics goals were scored by John Thomas and Ian Holmes (included in footage, watch and listen carefully). For NSW, Jack Bend (2), Rudi Strubb (2), and Kerry Ylonen. It was their 24th triumph compared to Victoria's 17 Cups, excluding the two ties in 1932 and 1946.
Among the New South Welshmen were captain Jack Bend, winner of the John Nicholas Trophy (Goodall MVP); goalie Roddy Bruce who represented Australia in 1961-62 when Australia won its first ever international ice hockey game; Jim Lynch, the Australian Speed Skating Champion; and John Bradbury, father of future four-time Olympian speed skater, Stephen, the first Australian to win a Winter Olympic gold medal. Over half the squad was born overseas including five Canadians, two Czechs and two Finns. They were coached by Vic Mansted who had also represented Australia in 1961-62. Footage courtesy British Movietone.
Ross Carpenter, 'Holmes, Ian William (1948 - 2006)', Legends of Australian Ice, Melbourne, Australia, http://icelegendsaustralia.com/bio_holmes.html, accessed online .