WATCH: As Fargo Force forward Verner Miettinen adjusts to life in America, a familiar face mans the bench

Former St. Cloud State assistant coach, now current Force head coach, Nick Oliver played a big role in Miettinen's commitment to SCSU

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Verner Miettinen scores for Team Finland at the 2021 World Junior Championships.

Hockey players come from all over to play in the USHL. For Fargo Force forward Verner Miettinen, the journey to the Fargo-Moorhead area was more than just a quick flight.

"Hockey wise, food, like the city, everything is different," said Finland native Verner Miettinen. "So yeah, it's been great to be here."

It's 4,356 miles from Espoo, Finland to Fargo, North Dakota. Verner is in the midst of a culture shock, but former St. Cloud State assistant coach, and now Force head coach, Nick Oliver has made his transition more comfortable.

"Oliver was the only one who I knew before I came here, so it helped a lot," Verner said. "It gave me more confidence to be here."

While on the SCSU staff, Oliver went the extra mile to get Verner to commit to the Huskies. Now, he gets to prep Miettinen to play at his own alma mater next season.


"I visited him in Finland. I got to know his family, spent time in their home," said Force head coach Nick Oliver. "Obviously, I got to coach his older brother while at St. Cloud. Now, I'm able to be a part of his journey. So, that's been cool to be a part of his progress."

The mutual connection between these two has made Verner's first year in America one for the books.

"(Oliver) is a husky, and I will be," Verner said. "So yeah, it's been fun."

Oliver, Miettinen, and the rest of the Fargo Force host their first best-of-three playoff series with the Tri-City Storm this weekend. Puck drop for game one is set for Friday at 7 p.m.

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