Bickel joins Firebirds coaching staff

The Coachella Valley Firebirds have named Stu Bickel to their coaching staff as an assistant coach.

Bickel spent the 2021-22 season as an assistant with the Springfield Thunderbirds, helping the club reach the Calder Cup Finals. He joins fellow assistant coach Jessica Campbell on head coach Dan Bylsma’s staff in Coachella Valley.

Bickel, 35, was head coach and assistant general manager for Minnesota of the North American Hockey League in 2020-21, and previously served as an assistant at his alma mater, the University of Minnesota, from 2018 to 2020.

Bickel played 10 professional seasons from 2008 to 2018, skating in 310 AHL games with the Iowa Chops, San Antonio Rampage, Syracuse Crunch, Connecticut Whale/Hartford Wolf Pack, Iowa Wild and San Diego Gulls. He totaled 12 goals and 42 assists for 54 points along with 919 penalty minutes.

Originally signed as an undrafted free agent by Anaheim, Bickel also played 76 games in the NHL with the New York Rangers and Minnesota Wild, tallying 10 assists and 203 PIM.

The Firebirds also announced the hirings of Erik Elenz as video analyst, Brian Garcia as head equipment manager, Brett Bernstein as head athletic trainer, Colin Zulianello as goaltending coach, Mike Donoghue as head strength and conditioning coach, Shawn Thorns as assistant equipment manager, and Justin Broy as assistant athletic trainer.