Olivia Cvar admitted that on Day 1 at St. Cloud State, “it was a little scary.”
“It was a new team and I was the youngest player so it was a little scary when I first got there,” said Cvar, a 19-year-old freshman centre. “But the girls were great. They really made it welcoming and they helped me a lot. In the end, it was really good.”
Cvar, a former member of Canada’s U18 national program, just completed her freshman season at St. Cloud and it was a good one. She played in all 35 of her team’s games and had 10 goals and 15 points. With 10 goals, she led all freshman scorers in her conference, the WCHA, and was the third leading scorer on her team.
In 24 conference games, she had seven goals and an assist, and was one of Manitoba’s top WCHA scorers:
- Ashton Bell, Jr. D, Minnesota-Duluth, Deloraine, 7-14-21
- Ryleigh Houston, Sr. F, Minnesota-Duluth, Winnipeg, 4-7-11
- Olivia Cvar, Fr. F, St. Cloud, Stonewall, 7-1-8
- Jalyn Elmes, Sr. D, Minnesota Duluth, Brandon, 1-6-7
- Mariah Gardner, Jr. F, Minnesota State, Winnipeg, 1-5-6
Although Cvar had a solid freshman season, her team struggled. Coached by Winnipeg’s Steve MacDonald, the former head coach at Balmoral Hall who just finished his seventh season at St. Cloud, the Huskies went 6-25-1 (2-21-1 WCHA). However, that struggling team allowed a freshman like Cvar to earn plenty of ice time and for the second half of the season, to play on the team’s top line with senior Hallie Theodosopoulos and sophomore Jenniina Nylund from Pietarsaari, Finland.
“I had some success because I was able to play alongside some smart people who can really move the puck,” Cvar said. “As a team, last season was not the best, but we have 15 players back from last year and the people coming in will make us better. I believe we’ll be much better next season.
Olivia grew up in Gimli and still lives there in the summer. She started playing hockey in Grade 3 simply because, “my brother and sister played and I wanted to be like them.” She played with the boys until Grade 7 and then, at the age of 12, started playing girls hockey at the Bantam level. She played for the Interlake Ice in Grade 8 and then decided to try the Prep program at Shaftesbury High School.
However, after her Grade 9 year, Shaftesbury dropped its Prep team and Cvar had to make a change. She chose Balmoral Hall and has not regretted a moment of her decision. Last season, she was a major contributor to the Blazers’ JWHL championship, the first in the school’s history, and this year got her college career off to a great start.
Not only did she lead all goal scorers in the conference, but she earned WCHA Rookie of the Week honours three times – Jan. 21, Jan. 28 and Feb. 18.
Majoring in Elementary Education, she’s got three weeks left in her semester and is taking her final courses on line during the pandemic.
“I’m excited about Year 2,” she said. “I think we’re going to have a really good team.”