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Former SCSU assistant coach, captain Nick Oliver discusses his 1st season as a head coach with Fargo

Oliver has led the Force to the USHL's best record. He talks about the ups and downs of the long season, the curve of being in charge and more on this episode of the Huskies Hockey Insider Podcast.

Nick Oliver Force.jpg
Fargo Force head coach Nick Oliver talks to his team behind the bench against the Tri-City Storm on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022 at Scheels Arena in Fargo.
Rob Beer / The Rink Live

At 31, Nick Oliver is seen by many in the hockey world as an up and coming coach. His transition to being a head coach for the first time has only solidified that opinion among many.

Oliver, a former St. Cloud State captain and assistant coach, has led the Fargo Force to the best record (36-12-2-4) in the United States Hockey League with eight games left in the regular season.

Watch or listen:

Oliver spent 2018-22 as an assistant coach for the Huskies and 2015-18 as an assistant coach of the Sioux Falls Stampede of the USHL. Oliver talks about the transition to being a head coach, who has helped him along the way, what he's enjoyed, what the challenges have been and how closely his parents follow the team (they live an hour away from Fargo).

Oliver also gives a scouting report on St. Cloud State recruits Verner Miettinen and Leo Gruba, both of whom are playing for Fargo.

A fun conversation on this week's episode of the Huskies Hockey Insider Podcast.



1:00 Does he miss working and being at St. Cloud State?

3:15 The biggest challenges when he took the job

5:30 A story about his relationship with SCSU coach Brett Larson, how he's helped him

7:00 His parents coming to Fargo regularly to watch games, visit their grandson, Thomas ... do they care more about Nick or the grandson?

9:00 How is the balance going with a young family and being a head junior hockey coach? Is he home more than when he was a college assistant?

11:00 The coolest part of being a part of this Fargo Force team, the differences in his relationship with the players compared to when he was a college assistant

13:15 The adjustment of dealing with college coaches, advisors, NHL scouts as a head junior coach


15:00 What's it been like working with Force general manager Cary Eades, a former head coach

16:15 How the USHL draft goes, the differences between Phase I and Phase II

18:05 Who does the scouting for Fargo

18:45 The amount of video available to watch players these days

19:45 A scouting report on Force center Verner Miettinen, an SCSU recruit, and his personality

22:20 A scouting report on Force defenseman Leo Gruba, an SCSU recruit, and how you never have to guess if Gruba is in a room, similarities to Kevin Fitzgerald. How he's a student of the game

26:45 What's ahead this weekend and for the rest of the regular season for the Force, trying to get back on track after losing five of their last six

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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

For more coverage of St. Cloud and the surrounding communities, check out St. Cloud Live.
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