North Okanagan Knights forward hits century mark

Tyler Olsen, from Calgary, has played in 100 consecutive league games, all for the Knights

Pulled groin. Separated shoulder. Ankle sprained so bad he could barely get his skate on over it.

Through all the aches, pains, injuries, bumps, bruises, colds and touches of flu, Tyler Olsen has not missed a game for the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s North Okanagan Knights since arriving from Calgary for the 2017-18 season.

The 20-year-old Olsen played in his 100th consecutive league game last weekend against the Castlegar Rebels.

His ironman streak was put in jeopardy last season when he separated his shoulder in a game but refused to miss the next one.

“I didn’t want to give up my streak,” laughed Olsen, who works in the lumber yard at Shepherd’s Home Hardware in Armstrong when he’s not practising with the Knights. “It does feel pretty good to have been able to play every game in my career.”

Playing minor hockey in Calgary, Olsen’s coach had a son who played for the Knights, and told then-coach/general manager Bryant Perrier to check out Olsen, who sent a video of himself in action. He was invited to training camp, made the team and has had his name written on the game sheet for every regular-season contest since then.

Even in minor hockey, Olsen hated missing a game.

“When I sat out, I hated that feeling of just watching the game knowing that I couldn’t be out there to help out,” said Olsen.

Knights head coach Dean McAmmond took over late in the 2018-19 season and has watched Olsen’s confidence on the ice grow.

“Right now, he’s a guy with heart, a hard-working character guy on and off the ice, period,” said McAmmond. “He’s an older player for us now, he competes hard every shift and what you get from him is everything he has. He’s just a good guy and a good leader.”

In his final year with the Knights, Olsen has been named one of the team’s leadership group, wearing an A as an alternate captain. One streak he wants to see end in his last season is the team’s playoff drought – Olsen has never suited up in a KIJHL playoff game.

“I have a feeling that’s going to change this year,” said Olsen, adding he has enjoyed his time in Armstrong with teammates and billets Marlese Hutter and Kevin Campbell.

Olsen is slated to suit up in consecutive game No. 101 Friday as North Okanagan visits Sicamous. The Knights host the Nelson Leafs Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Nor-Val Sports Centre.


@VernonNews
roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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