2004 Prospects: Q&A with Darin Olver

By Holly Gunning

Darin Olver, is a freshman at Northern Michigan

Darin Olver is a freshman at Northern Michigan, ranked seventh among NCAA
prospects in the preliminary rankings, and 63rd

among North American skaters in the mid-term rankings by Central Scouting.


The flashy
center is Northern’s leading scorer with 23 points (9
goals, 14 assists) in 26 games. Olver spoke to
Hockey’s Future following a game at the University of Alabama-Huntsville and
assessed his season positively.


“It’s going
good. It’s been a little bit rocky, obviously, I’m not used to all the physical play and
the speed adjustment. But so far it’s
going really well and the team’s doing well, so there’s not too much more you
can ask.”


Olver played
Chilliwack in the BCHL before coming to
Northern. He feels the adjustment has
been considerable and that the biggest factor for him is strength. At 6’0 and only
170 pounds, he’s at a disadvantage. He
also notes that has to use his speed more than before.


describes his game this way. “I think
I’m more of a playmaker. I get the
occasional goal, but my game is playmaking.
I see the ice and I’m always looking to dish the puck.”


father John Olver attended the
University of Michigan in the 1970’s and is currently
coaching the Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL.

He was an influence in Darin’s decision of
where to go to school. Darin considered
his father’s alma mater, but decided on Northern.


obviously I did look into that, but I came here because of Walt. [Kyle] He’s a good friend of my dad’s. He’s known him for a long time, he’s a great
coach. The program is good too, I mean
the rink and the facilities, they’re top level.”


NMU head
coach Walt Kyle is very enthusiastic about Olver and
his future.


“He’s a
young guy feeling his way through his first year of college. Darin is a guy that has off the charts
physical skills. He’s very aware of
what’s going on on the ice. He has excellent speed, hands and
vision. He’s a guy that’s a young
freshman learning to play against men right now. I think Darin is a
great prospect, not only to become a great college player, but to go on and
play pro because he has such great skills.”


Coach Kyle
currently has Olver playing on his top line alongside
Dirk Southern, a sophomore picked by
Anaheim in the 2003 draft. Kyle projects Olver
as a top two line player in the NHL as well.


“I think
Darin’s a guy that if an NHL team drafts him, he’s going to have to play with
people who can put the puck in the net because he’ll get them the puck in
situations where they’re going to be able to do that.”


Olver explained
the chemistry between he and Southern this way.


“I think me
and Dirk think alike. We’re both
playmakers, we’re both good moving the puck.

When you have a guy thinking the exact same thing as you on a forecheck, on a rush, down low, it obviously helps because
you know where each other are going to be.”


A true
freshman, Olver won’t turn 19 until May. Like most 18-year-olds, what’s holding him
back is his lack of weight. Olver knows that he must put on weight and this is the main
thing he is working on.


is the biggest thing, every day. 170
pounds isn’t going to get me by. I have
to keep working on it every day to get stronger.”


Asked if he
was looking forward to the draft, Olver replied
“Yeah, I am. I have to start picking it
up here, but yeah I am for sure [laughs].”

While looking forward to it, he’s trying not to worry about rankings too


“That’s the
stuff that puts pressure on people. I’m
not too worried about that at all. I’m
going into each game here and trying to do the little things. That’s what’s going to get me higher. If the team’s doing well, then I’m obviously
doing well.”