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Fargo Force name SCSU assistant coach Nick Oliver as its head coach

Oliver has spent the last four seasons as an assistant to Brett Larson with the Huskies

Nick-Oliver-WMU1010
Former Fargo Force and St. Cloud State captain Nick Oliver during a practice in March 2019 at Lawson Arena in Kalamazoo, Mich. Oliver will be introduced as the new head coach of the Force on May 2, 2022, at Scheels Arena in Fargo, N.D.

FARGO — Nick Oliver has spent the last four seasons as an assistant coach for a team that he played for for four seasons. Now, he is going to be the head coach for a team for a team he played for for two-plus seasons.

Oliver, a 30-year-old assistant coach for the St. Cloud State men's hockey team, will be introduced as the head coach of the Fargo Force at 4 p.m. Monday, May 2, at Scheels Arena. He will replace Scott Langer, who spent one season as the head coach of the junior team.

The Force were swept in the opening round of the United States Hockey League playoffs after finishing 28-28-4-2 and taking fifth place in the Western Conference standings during the regular season.

Oliver played forward for the Force from 2008-11 and was an alternate captain for the team during his last season of junior hockey. He helped Fargo win its first Western Conference title in 2010.

"We are excited to have Nick back in Fargo," Fargo Force president Jon Kram said in a news release. "He is a strong leader who has played at all levels, which gives him a unique perspective of the game. It's always great to see former players succeed and we can't wait to see what Nick does here with the Force."

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After leaving Fargo, Oliver played for the Huskies from 2011-15, helping the program reach its first Frozen Four in 2013 and he was the team's captain as a senior.

A fourth-round draft pick of the Nashville Predators in 2009, Oliver ended up not playing pro hockey. Instead, he spent 2015-18 as an assistant coach and director of scouting for the Sioux Falls Stampede under head coach Scott Owens from 2015-18.
In 2018, Bob Motzko left as SCSU's head coach and took the job as the head coach at the University of Minnesota. When he left, Huskies assistant coach Garrett Raboin went with Motzko and spent four seasons on Motzko's staff with the Gophers.

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St. Cloud State University coaches Dave Shyiak, Brett Larson and Nick Oliver talk during a break in the action during a game against Minnesota State Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, at the Mayo Clinic Health System Events Center in Mankato.
Jason Wachter / The Rink Live

After Brett Larson was named the Huskies' head coach, one of his first orders of business was to hire Oliver as an assistant coach. St. Cloud State has gone 81-44-9, won the NCHC regular season title (2018-19), reached its first NCAA Division I championship game in 2021 and reached the NCAA tournament in 2022.

"My family and I are humbled and honored for the opportunity to be the next head coach of the Fargo Force," Oliver said in the news release. "This organization has always been a special place for me and I'm excited to call Fargo home. I can't wait to connect with our players and get started."

MORE FARGO FORCE COVERAGE:
The former Huskies forward (1990-94) recently saw his 18-year-old son, a defenseman, make a verbal commitment to play for the Huskies. Tony talks about his son, shares memories of playing for St. Cloud State with The Rink Live's Mick Hatten on the Huskies Hockey Insider Podcast.
Fifteen years ago Roseau native Nick Oliver and Grafton’s Chad Demers paved the way in the first ever season for the Fargo Force. Now these former teammates are reunited again in a way they never thought would happen.
Both of Gruba's parents attended St. Cloud State. His father, Tony, played forward for the Huskies from 1990-94 and was the team's captain his senior season.
Demers previously served as an assistant coach, director of scouting and associate head coach for the Force
The 31-year-old Roseau High School graduate discusses the tough decision to leave the Huskies for the USHL. He also talks about the newcomers for SCSU in the fall and does a rapid fire on coaches he's played for, worked with.
Oliver, the first person that Larson hired after he became the Huskies head coach, is the new head coach of the Fargo Force. With the transfer portal closed, a look at the 9 probable additions to next season's roster. Jack Ahcan wins an award with Providence.
Scott Langer is out after one season with the United States Hockey League team.
Evan Werner scored two goals as the Lancers won for a second-straight night and knocked the Force out of the Clark Cup playoffs on Tuesday.

Before playing for the Force, Oliver played for his father, Scott, at Roseau High School and helped the Rams win the Class AA state title in 2007.

With Oliver's departure, Larson may not have to look far to find his replacement. R.J. Enga spent last season as the team's director of hockey operations and video coordinator. Before taking that position, Enga was an assistant coach for Colorado College from 2014-21.

Mick Hatten is a reporter and editor for Forum News Service and helps manage TheRinkLive.com, a website dedicated to hockey. He began working for Forum Communications in November 2018 and has covered St. Cloud State University hockey since 2010. A graduate of St. Cloud State, he has more than 30 years of experience as a journalist and has been a youth hockey coach since 2014. mhatten@forumcomm.com
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