BEMIDJI, Minn. – After nearly five years as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Bemidji State University, Eddie Olczyk has resigned from his position with the men’s hockey program and will join the front office staff of the Seattle Kraken, the National Hockey League’s newest franchise.
“This is a great opportunity for Eddie to advance his career at the professional level,” said BSU Head Coach Tom Serratore. “His eye for talent is second to none. There is no doubt Eddie has helped continue the long-standing championship tradition here and I am sure he is going to do an outstanding job for Seattle.”
Olczyk’s duties as an amateur scout with the Kraken begin soon and include working with the rest of the front office staff to shape the organization through the NHL Entry Draft.
“First I have to thank Tom (Serratore) for entrusting me with a role in this storied program alongside both he and Travis (Winter),” said Olczyk. “I have had other stops in my coaching career, but as a part of this staff I have gained a greater understanding of the attributes to look for in a player and how to better evaluate them. I’ve also learned to see the game from a different perspective and the true definition of work ethic. Those skills have afforded me the opportunity to move on and help build an NHL expansion franchise from the ground up.”
Since joining the BSU coaching staff prior to the 2016-17 season, Olczyk has helped lead Bemidji State to the program’s first Western Collegiate Hockey Association regular-season title and 75 victories, while seven student-athletes who were either recruited by Olczyk or were members of his forward group have been recognized with All-WCHA honors. In addition, a BSU attack led by Olczyk’s forwards averaged 3.21 goals per game in 2019-20 to rank second in the WCHA, 13th in the nation and stand as BSU’s best goals per game average since 2009-10. The Beavers finished the season ranked 11th in the nation to cap an eight-week run among the nation's top 20 teams and open the 2020-21 season ranked among the top 15 in the preseason national polls for the first time since joining the NCAA Division I ranks in 1999-2000.
Since 2016-17, BSU's Phil Marinaccio finished among the league's top 10 scorers (11g-18a), while both he and Gerry Fitzgerald earned a spot on the All-WCHA squad. In 2017-18, forward Kyle Bauman (9g-21a) became the first BSU player since 2011-12 to record at least 30 points, while his 21 assists marked the most by a BSU player since BSU great Brad Hunt posted 21 in 2011-12. Owen Sillinger came onto the scene in 2018-19 earning a spot on the WCHA All-Rookie Team after leading all BSU freshmen and ranking fifth on the team in scoring (10g-9a), while his 10 goals tied for second on the team. Forward Adam Brady, who led the nation with 12 power-play goals in 2019-20, became BSU's second First Team All-WCHA selection since joining the league in 2010-11. In addition, Sillinger was voted Second-Team All-WCHA and Elias Rosén earned a spot on the league's All-Rookie Team as well as receiving Third Team All-WCHA honors.
Since the beginning of the 2016-17 season, the Beavers have posted a 75-57-22 (.556) overall record and a 66-31-15 (.656) mark in WCHA play.
“I want to thank the Bemidji community for welcoming us with open arms four years ago.” Olczyk added, “I am really going to miss working with our players on a daily basis. The level of dedication the guys have to this program, the amount of work they put in, and watching them grow and succeed make this job so rewarding. I also want to thank our athletic training, equipment and strength and conditioning staffs and well as all the others who work hard behind the scenes at Sanford Center and on campus to make Beaver Hockey a success. The support behind this program is something I will not forget.”
Details are being finalized to secure Olczyk’s replacement. The announcement of the addition to the BSU coaching staff is expected within the week.
Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.