With training camp coming to a close, and dust from the off-season settling, the Minnesota Magicians are looking to start a new chapter this season. Behind the bench for the Magicians this year is Head Coach and General Manager AJ Bucchino and Assistant Coach Gaven Bickford. Bucchino comes to the Magicians after coaching for Lakeville South High School, where he had a record of 48-34-4 and led Lakeville South to the Minnesota State High School Tournament in 2017. Bucchino says he looks forward to working with players in the North American Hockey League, and is excited to help them reach their goals after juniors. “Gaven and I worked very hard to surround ourselves with players who want to be here.” said Bucchino, “We are very excited about the guys we’re bringing in. We have high expectations for this group, and we feel on paper that we could have a lot of success this season. There’s going to be a high accountability culture in our locker room and we feel that the new guys are going to embrace that.”
The Magicians are making changes not only to coaching staff, but also in the form of younger players, some of whom will play for the Magi before and after their high school seasons. One of these players is Jackson Jutting, a 2001 birth year from Savage, MN. Jutting spent last season playing for Prior Lake High School, where he recorded 21 goals and 15 assists in 24 games. To add on to an already impressive year, Jutting picked up playing time representing the USA U18 team at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Canada. Jutting played 5 games, with 2 goals and 1 assist. Jutting is committed to Colorado College (NCHC D1). Isaac Henkemeyer-Howe, out of Moorhead, MN is another factor the Magicians are adding to the mix. The eighteen-year-old high school senior played in 25 games for Moorhead High School, tallying 26 points, and was a member of the 2016-2017 team that placed second in the Minnesota State High School Hockey tournament.
Returning to the Magicians for his third season is 20-year-old John Keranen. Keranen played in 55 games, recording 13 goals and 16 assists. The Delano, MN native was named Captain earlier this week for the Magic. Alongside Keranen, are Alternate Captains Cameron Buhl and Andrew Kruse. Buhl, a 19-year-old from South St. Paul has played for the Magicians since the 2016-2017 season, where he has since racked up 23 goals and 31 assists in his history with the Magi. Another returning member is forward Matthew Stanton, a 20-year-old from Stillwater, MN. Stanton was drafted in the 12th round, #189 overall, in 2017 by the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL. For the Magicians, Stanton played in 46 games, with 6 goals and 12 assists, as well as 37 minutes in penalties.
The Magicians are back in action today at the Richfield Ice Arena as they take on the Austin Bruins in their first pre-season game at 3pm. The Magicians go on to play four games at the North American Hockey League showcase in Blaine, MN, which runs from 9/19-9/22. They are back in action on September 28th & 29th as they take on the Fairbanks Ice Dogs for their season opener.