The native of Hamilton, Ontario, starred as a junior with the local Tiger Cubs of the OHA. The parent Detroit Red Wings were solid at center with Norm Ullman and young Alex Delvecchio, so Oliver was dispatched to the WHL's Edmonton Flyers. In 1959-60 he scored 20 goals in 54 games for Detroit but was traded to the Boston Bruins part way through the next season.
Oliver recorded three straight 20-goal seasons for the Bruins playing with such wingers as Johnny Bucyk and Tommy Williams. He was a fine playmaker and defensive forward on the improved team that was being built around sensational youngster Bobby Orr. On May, 15, 1967 Oliver was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Eddie Shack. The veteran pivot was solid for three years and worked well on the same line with Bob Pulford and Ron Ellis.
After he was traded to the Minnesota North Stars in 1970, Oliver played five years with the young club before retiring. A highlight for him was scoring seven playoff goals in 1971 when the spunky North Stars extended the Montreal Canadiens to six games in the semi-finals. Oliver also scored a career-high 27 goals in 1971-72 centering Dean Prentice and Lou Nanne.
Fed up with a bitter contract dispute with the Stars, he hung up his skates in 1975 after playing over 1,100 NHL contests. Oliver was hired by former teammate Lou Nanne as a Minnesota assistant coach. The affable veteran even took over behind the bench for a few games in 1982-83 and was a popular figure with the players. Oliver was let go when the organization made wholesale changes in 1988. He resurfaced as a scout with the Vancouver Canucks and eventually took over as the club's director of pro scouting.
Courtesy of the Hockey Hall of Fame
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