John Olver has joined the Northern Michigan Wildcat staff as an assistant coach, replacing Dave Shyiak, who left to be the head coach at Alaska-Anchorage.
For the past five years (2000-05), Olver was the vice president of hockey operations and head coach of the Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL. His team won the 2004 Kelly Cup championship. In five years with the Steelheads he was 228-100-32 in the regular season, which included an 82-46-16 mark in Idaho’s two ECHL seasons (2003-05). The Steelheads were 42-23-7 for the 2004-05 campaign.
“This is a major move for our program. With Dave Shyiak leaving I thought that we would have a difficult time finding someone with that kind of experience and ability, but we found it in John,” head coach Walt Kyle said. “He is one of my closest friends and I have used him as a resource for recruiting. He already has some experience with the program. John has experiences with many different areas of hockey which will help the program.”
His other professional coaching stops have been with the Fresno Falcons (WCHL) from 1995-97 and the Tacoma Sabercats (1997-00). In six years, prior to 2002, as a WCHL head coach (Fresno, Tacoma and Idaho); Olver led his team to the Taylor Cup finals every season, winning the Cup with Tacoma in 1998-99. He was the WCHL Coach of the Year four times, three with Tacoma and once with Idaho.
Olver coached 13 years at the amateur level as he registered a 240-76-10 slate. His career began in 1981 with the New Westminster Royals of the British Columbia Junior Hockey League and then continued in the major junior Western Hockey League with the New Westminster Bruins and Tri-City Americans.
“I am thrilled and honored for Walt (Kyle) to select me for the position,” Olver said. “When Walt (Kyle) took the job it was his goal to bring Northern Michigan University back to prominence in college hockey. John (Kyle) and Dave (Shyiak) have made great strides with the program. I hope to come in and continue to take the program in that direction.”
A native of British Columbia, Olver played for Kelowna in the BCJHL. He then went and played at the University of Michigan from 1978-80. Olver was drafted in the eighth round (125th overall) by the Colorado Rockies in the 1978 NHL Entry Draft.
Olver’s son, Darin, is currently a member of the NMU hockey team and will be a junior this coming season. He led the Wildcats this past season with 43 points (9-34). His youngest son, Mark, has verbally committed to attend NMU in 2006.