NMU Sophomore forward Mark Olver has taken the first step toward a professional hockey career.
Olver, who earned CCHA All-Rookie Team accolades during the 2007-2008 season, was selected in the fifth round, 140th overall, to the Colorado Avalanche in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft on June 23.
For Olver, being drafted by the Avalanche was a childhood dream come true.
“They’ve definitely been one of my favorite teams growing up, so I couldn’t be happier to go there,” he said.
NMU head hockey coach Walt Kyle said he wasn’t surprised when Olver, who led the ‘Cats in goals (21) and points (38), was selected but had hoped for more Northern hockey players to have their names announced.
“We knew as the year progressed that he was going to get drafted,” Kyle said. “We actually thought that we were going to have a couple other guys get drafted.”
Olver had hoped for more Wildcats to join him in the Entry Draft as well, specifically fellow CCHA All-Rookie Team selection, Erik Gustafsson.
“It was a privilege to be drafted, and fortunately I got it,” Olver said. “I feel a little bad that (Gustafsson) didn’t get drafted, because he had a great freshman season.”
Now for Olver, this is the beginning of the journey, and there is a long road ahead.
“I always tell guys that, to be in the draft is a little bit overrated,” Kyle said. “I think that the truth is that it’s not about getting drafted, it’s about being good enough to play.”
And Olver knows he has a ways to go in order to be able to play in the NHL.
“It just gives me another goal, I guess,” Olver said. “I’d like to see where I could go in hockey some day, and maybe something good will happen in the future.”