Magicians announce coaching change
The Minnesota Magicians of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) are pleased to announce that A.J. Bucchino has been named President and General Manager and hire former NHL player, Gopher and NAHL standout, Stu Bickel as their new Head Coach.
“After meeting with Magicians’ ownership, management, and hockey staff, it was easy to see that they are fully committed to taking this organization to the next level. I am thankful for the trust that Scott, Ron, Joe and A.J. have in my ability and I am honored to coach in the NAHL,” Bickel said. “Our goal is to create the best possible development opportunity for our players. Aside from that, we are in what is likely the best market in the United States in terms of exposure to college coaches and professional scouts. There is a tremendous amount of potential here and I will do everything I can to help our players achieve their goals. That starts with meeting with each guy and getting to know them on a personal level. I couldn’t be more excited to get going.”
Bickel joins the Magicians following two seasons as an assistant at the University of Minnesota where he worked with both forwards and defensemen. Prior to joining the Gophers staff in 2018, the Minnesota native played 10 years professionally, including 76 regular-season NHL games with the New York Rangers and the Minnesota Wild as well as 18 Stanley Cup playoff games with the Rangers. As an amateur player, Bickel skated in 45 collegiate games with the University of Minnesota. In three seasons of junior hockey, he accumulated 122 games between the NAHL (Southern Minnesota Express) and USHL (Green Bay and Sioux Falls). He served as a captain with the 2007 Clark Cup Champions, Sioux Falls Stampede. From 2002-2005, Stu played high school hockey at Minnetonka and Eden Prairie in Minnesota.
“Our organization is thrilled to have Stu join our staff as Head Coach. Stu’s passion, work ethic and experience as a player and coach will be a tremendous addition to our team. His vision and desire to be the best is admirable. We are excited for the future of our organization with Stu on board,” said Bucchino.
In Bucchino’s new role, he will oversee all aspects of hockey and business operations including managing the coaching staff and player personnel, generating sponsorship partners, operating off-season hockey programming and strategic plan for the overall growth of the organization.
The Magicians are entering their 8th year in the NAHL for the 2020-21 season. The Magicians have produced over 50 collegiate commitments and three NHL draft picks.