Hockey Staff

John Olver – General Manager

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John Olver, 54, assumes the role of general manager for 2013-14, and will oversee the hockey operations department. He brings three decades of experience in coaching, scouting, and management, after starting his coaching career at 23 years old in the British Columbia Junior Hockey League.

Olver has a reputation for building championship-caliber teams, making seven appearances in the league finals during his nine seasons as a head coach in the professional ranks. He served as the head coach and vice president of hockey operations of the Idaho Steelheads in the West Coast Hockey League and the ECHL from 2000 – 2005. He also was the head coach and general manager of the Tacoma Sabercats in the WCHL from 1997-00, and the GM of the Fresno Falcons from 1995-97, serving as head coach in 1995-96. He reached the finals in seven of his nine seasons as a head coach in the WCHL and ECHL, winning a pair of championships – in 1999 with Tacoma (WCHL) and in 2004 with Idaho (ECHL).

Olver went from Idaho to Northern Michigan University, serving for two seasons as assistant coach. He then headed to Des Moines, Iowa to serve as the founding president and general manager of the American Hockey League’s Iowa Stars in 2007-08.

Since 2009-10, he has served as GM/head coach of the Idaho Jr. Steelheads in the Western States Hockey League, winning three consecutive titles and an AAU National Championship this season after guiding his club to a 57-1-1 record.

Originally drafted by the Colorado Rockies (who later became the New Jersey Devils), in the 8th round of the 1978 NHL Entry Draft, Olver played three seasons at the University of Michigan. He became assistant coach of New Westminster in the British Columbia Junior Hockey League for his first coaching position at the age of 23. At 25, Olver earned his first head coaching position with Langley in the BCHL, and guided his team to a 40-8-2 record.

Olver joined the Condors staff in 2011-12 as the assistant to the head coach. The North Burnaby, British Columbia native played an integral role in the foundation of the WCHL, and in helping Bakersfield land their first professional hockey team in 1995 (the Bakersfield Fog).

For a link to Olver’s coaching and playing career, click here.


J.F. Houle – Head Coach

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Houle2Jean-François (J.F.) Houle was named the sixth head coach in Condors history on July 23, 2014.

Houle, 39, has spent the last four-plus seasons as a head coach in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) with both Lewiston and Blainville-Boisbriand. In 305 regular season games, the Quebec City, Que. native has compiled a record of 174-101-12-18, good for a .617 point percentage. That record includes four consecutive 40-win seasons.

In May, his success led to Hockey Canada naming him head coach of one of three Canadian teams at the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, a position from which he has resigned in order to coach in Bakersfield.

His past three seasons have been spent in Blainville-Boisbriand where he led the Armada to back-to-back West Division titles in 2011-12 and 2012-13. The team advanced to the third round of the QMHJL playoffs in each of the last two seasons and the second round in 2011-2012.

Prior to his time with the Armada, Houle spent parts of two seasons at the helm of the Lewiston MAINEiacs from 2009-11 after taking over in December of the 2009-10 season. After getting the team in the playoffs in 2010, he them to the third round the following season before losing to eventual QMJHL and Memorial Cup Champion, St. John.

He began his coaching career at his alma mater, Clarkson University, where he served as an assistant coach from 2003 until accepting the Lewiston position in 2010. With Clarkson, he recruited and coached numerous former Condors including 2010 captain F Shawn Wellar, F Scott Freeman, and F Nicholas Tremblay. He was instrumental in bringing 15 NHL Draft picks to Clarkson, including current Winnipeg Jets D Grant Clitsome.

As a player, Houle was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the fourth round (#99 overall) of the 1993 National Hockey League (NHL) Entry Draft. He went on to play four seasons at Clarkson before turning pro and playing five seasons split between the AHL and ECHL. His best season came in 1997-98 when he recorded 62 points (25g-37a) in 53 games with the ECHL’s New Orleans Brass.

Houle is the son of Réjean Houle. His father was the number one overall pick in the 1969 NHL Entry Draft by the Canadiens, played over 700 games with the club, and went on to win five Stanley Cups.

He and his wife, Mia, have two children: Emma (12) and Noah (10).

Ryan Murphy – Assistant Coach

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Murphy2013Murphy, 30, enters his first season in the coaching ranks, having played four-plus seasons professionally in the American Hockey League (AHL) and ECHL. The Rumson, New Jersey native played 138 games in the AHL from 2005-2009 with Manchester, Hartford, and Peoria and 93 games in the ECHL with Charlotte. While in Charlotte, he played under Mann, who served as an associate coach. In 231 pro games, Murphy scored 22 goals and added 54 assists for 86 points. Serving as an alternate captain for the 2006-07 Monarchs, he was named the team’s recipient of the “Unsung Player Award.”

The former right-winger played four seasons of college hockey at Boston College from 2001-2005, serving as an alternate captain his senior campaign. He played 156 games for the Eagles with 25 goals, 34 assists, and 59 points. In 2005, Murphy received the Coaches Award given to the player who best personifies hard work, leadership, and selflessness.

He was drafted in the 6th round (#185) of the 2002 National Hockey League (NHL) Entry Draft by the Los Angeles Kings.

Paul Willett – Part-Time Assistant Coach

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WillyPaul Willett will serve as a part-time assistant coach in 2013-14, assisting during practice, providing advanced scouting, and coordinating the team’s power play/faceoff strategy.

Willett, 44, played 14 years professionally from 1990-2004, playing his final five seasons in a Condors sweater. He is the team’s all-time leading scorer with 388 points and assists with 258. In addition, he ranks among the team’s career leaders in games played with 318 (4th), goals with 130 (2nd), and penalty minutes with 829 (2nd). He laid claim to the team’s only scoring title, outpacing the rest of the West Coast Hockey League (WCHL) in 2002-03, was a WCHL All-Star twice, and won the WCHL MVP in 1999-2000.

This is the third coaching stint for Willett having previously served as an assistant coach with the Condors in 2004-05, and the head coach of the Port Huron Flags of the United Hockey League (UHL) in 2005-06.

His number 16 was retired by the Condors on November 16, 2004.

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