Tyler Olsen thought his hockey career had come to an end during the pandemic as not many college opportunities came his way.
Then the expansion of the Okanagan Lakers in the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League opened up a chance for the former North Okanagan Knight to play again. It’s a good fit for Olsen to join the Lakers because the Calgary native is studying business at Okanagan College. Also helping the fit is knowing some of his future teammates.
“I will be playing with some of the guys I used to play with like Marshall Porteous, who I played with on the Knights for a bit. We played against each other when he was with the Chiefs,” says Olsen, 22. “I played against other guys through the league. Playing with them this time, instead of against them, is good to get a different side of things.”
Olsen is looking forward to being a part of something new, being the first group to don the Lakers jersey.
“I’m going to help lay the foundation for this program,” says Olsen. “Building that foundation, building that culture and hopefully bringing championships to the Okanagan.”
During his three seasons with the Knights, Olsen was a workhorse who was counted on the penalty kill and in a shutdown role. He faced other teams’ top lines and created energy. Along with that style, Olsen will also be looked upon to be a leader.
At 5-8 ½, 165 pounds, Olsen learned how to go up against bigger and older opposition.
“I became smarter with the puck, smarter with plays,” says Olsen, of his time in the KIJHL. “I was able to learn a lot on how to be a more successful player in my role.”