Hockey Operations

President and General Manager

A.J. Bucchino

A.J is entering his first year as the team's President and General Manager.  Bucchino 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.

In two years as the General Manager and Head Coach of the Minnesota Magicians in the NAHL, the team finished second in the Midwest division and had 12 players earn college scholarships as well as had a player drafted in the 2019 NHL Draft.  A.J. also helped lead the organization in his first season with the most wins in franchise history as well as the first playoff series win in the Midwest Division.

Before the Magicians, A.J. was the Head Coach at Lakeville South High School in Lakeville, MN for the past three seasons. At Lakeville South, he had a record of 48-34-4 and led the team to the Minnesota State High School Tournament in 2017.  A.J. is also a co-owner of the Minnesota IceMen AAA Youth Hockey Program.

Before A.J. began his coaching career, he played four seasons of professional hockey in the East Coast Hockey League, Central Hockey League, and Southern Professional Hockey League.  Born in White Plains, New York, he began his playing career attending Tilton and Avon Old Farms Prep School.  A.J. then finished high school in the USHL with the Des Moines Buccaneers.  After a season at the University of New Hampshire, A.J. transferred to the University of Wisconsin-River Falls where he was a two-time NCAA All-American helping his team win two WIAC Championships (2006 and 2007) and one NCHA Championship (2007).

AJ graduated with a B.S. in Communication from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and has a Masters Degree in Sports Management. He currently resides in Woodbury, MN, with his wife, Danielle and his son, Rocco.

Head Coach

Stu Bickel

Stu is entering his first season with the Magicians.

Stu 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.


Assistant Coach and Director of Player Personnel

Gaven Bickford

Gaven Bickford was named Minnesota Magicians’ Assistant Coach in the summer 2018 and is now entering is third season with the team. Over the past two years, the Magicians have a record of 57-44-12 (.564 Winning Percentage). Bickford has overseen 30 NCAA commitments; including 18 at the Division One level and three NHL draft picks.

In the summer of 2020, Gaven was promoted to Director of Player Personnel. In Bickford's new role as Director of Player Personnel, his responsibilities will include recruiting, scouting (Scouting Staff), player support, and will work directly with the coaching staff and management to identify areas of need and recruits to fill those roles. His main focus will be to recruit and build a competitive roster for the Minnesota Magicians.

Throughout the years, Gaven has developed a passion for all levels of hockey and gives back through coaching. He has directed and counseled numerous hockey camps around the Midwest.

Gaven is from Crosslake, Minnesota where he played his youth and High School hockey for the Northern Lakes Lightning. After High School, Gaven attended Siena College in Albany, New York, where he earned a degree in Marketing and was a member of the Club Hockey Team (ACHA).

Gaven currently resides in Richfield, MN.


Phone: 612-532-4981

Medical Trainer: Chris Walker, TRIA


TRIA is proud to partner with the Minnesota Magicians. As part of this partnership, TRIA provides Athletic Trainers and Doctors to all of the Magicians games at Richfield Ice Arena.

Sports medicine doctors from The Tria Orthopaedic Center have served as team physicians to Minnesota professional sports teams and athletic programs, including the Minnesota Magicians, for over 25 years. This experience translates into improved management of sports-related injuries for athletes of all ages and skill levels. Players have access to these reputable sports-medicine physicians who are also committed to patient care and investing in education and research. Future sports medicine professionals are trained through TRIA’s accredited sports medicine fellowship program in affiliation with the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Minnesota.
TRIA was built on the strengths of each of its partners for the benefit of our patients and the community while advancing the science of orthopedic medicine. March 15, 2005, TRIA opened at 494 & France Avenue in Bloomington, Minnesota, offering comprehensive orthopedic care – from diagnosis to treatment to surgery – at one convenient location.

Strength and Performance Coach: Noah Draper

ETS Central 

Noah is in his first season as the Magicians Strength and Performance Coach.

Noah, grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, where he played baseball and football throughout his youth. Got offers to play football out of high school but decided to pursue my college career at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. He studied exercise science there for 4 years and graduated in 2019. After college, Noah jumped right into ETS an intern which lead into becoming director of operations at ETS Central.

I enjoy working out, playing baseball, and board sports.

Defensive Skills Coach - Nick Angell

Nick supports the coaching staff by working with the Magicians defense. Nick attends practices and games several times per month to reiterate the coaching staffs approach and fine-tune the defensive side of the game.

Nick began his ice hockey career playing in the Duluth youth leagues where he honed his skills before playing at Duluth East High School. During his senior year, Angell led the Duluth East Greyhounds in winning the 1998 Minnesota High School Boys Hockey tournament and was nominated for the Mr. Hockey award, which is given to Minnesota's most valuable high school hockey player. He was then recruited to play for the University of Minnesota in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I, from 1998 to 2002, where he helped Minnesota win their fifth NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Championship in 2002. Nick then went on to play 10 years at the professional level in the AHL, UHL, Swedish Elite League, DEL and KHL.

Nick resides in Minnetonka, MN with his family.

Midwest Regional Scout - Jeff DeGree

Midwest Regional Scout - Jamie Aller

Jamie (JR) has served in various capacities in the Minnesota hockey community to include; player, coach, scout, and trainer for over 20 years and is a Level IV Certified USA Hockey coach. He has helped promote the game along with advancing players. He has a great passion for guiding players to their goals, in hockey and in life.

During the season he is our Minnesota Regional Scout, as well as our Head Coach for the U16AAA Select teams.JR is medically retired from the military where he served as a Airborne Combat Medic within various units to include; 82nd Airborne Division, 3/75th Ranger Battalion, and worked with 3rd Group Special Forces. He is heavily involved with the VFW, American Legion, and Disabled American Veteran’s (DAV). He currently serves as the assistant to the Legislative Chair for the VFW at the State Capital.

Jamie grew up in St. Paul and has built a lot of relationships with Minnesota High School coaches, USHL Coaches/Scouts, University D1/D3 Coaches, and NHL Amateur Scouts. Lower town St. Paul is where he calls home. He has an extremely talented 10-year-old
daughter Sydney whose goal is to be an Olympic gymnast one day, and she’s making progresstowards that every day. In his down time he enjoys; spending time with his girlfriend Jen and her kids, at the gym working out or teaching yoga, on the golf course, relaxing by a fire, or fishing/boating at the cabin.

Duluth Area Scout - Andy Sorben

Minnesota Regional Scout - Derek Lafferty

East Coast Regional Scout - Joe Bucchino