Minnesota Duluth grad, former Team USA, women’s pro player Hickel tabbed assistant coach at Ohio State

Zoe Hickel has vast experience in the playing and coaching ranks, including stints skating with the U.S. National Women’s Team (photo: USA Hockey).

Ohio State announced Monday addition of Zoe Hickel as an assistant coach for the women’s hockey team.

Hickel brings five years of professional playing and coaching experience, as well as two World Championships with Team USA to OSU.

“I am honored to be joining the women’s hockey program at Ohio State,” Hickel said in a statement. “The standard of excellence Coach (Nadine) Muzerall has established, along with the commitment from her staff and the student-athletes, has proven that the Buckeyes will continue to be leaders in the women’s game. I am at a perfect place in my life to use the experience and cultures I’ve absorbed over the years of elite play, coaching and world travel to give that back to our team and to embrace the opportunity to help make a difference in this next generation.”

Hickel is no stranger to the WCHA, serving as a two-year captain during her college career (2011-15) at Minnesota Duluth. She led the Bulldogs in scoring and was also named a finalist for the Hockey Humanitarian Award in 2014-15.

Hickel graduated from Minnesota Duluth with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and a minor in Coaching.

“When hiring a coach you need to look at the complete package,” Muzerall said. “Yes, the X’s and O’s matter, but they only consume a small fraction of the everyday coaching of these young women. We are developing them to be strong-minded women for life after hockey. There was no one better for this then Zoe Hickel. Her resume speaks for itself in terms of experience playing in the top league in women’s college hockey, numerous years professionally after and representing her country’s colors on the U.S. National Team. She possesses the technical and tactical coaching but what you can’t read are the qualifications she owns that match our culture and what we are as Buckeyes.”

Following her time in Duluth, Hickel headed to Massachusetts to compete professionally for the NWHL’s Boston Pride. She earned a spot in the all-star game in both seasons and hoisted the NWHL Isobel Cup trophy in 2016.

The start of Hickel’s professional endeavors ran simultaneously alongside also playing for the U.S. Women’s National Team and assisting Merrimack integrate and thrive during its inaugural D-I season. While playing for Team USA, she seized the pair of World Championships and added four Nations Cup titles.

Hickel also spent two seasons in the CWHL, splitting time between the Kunlin Red Star, based in China (2017-18), and the Calgary Inferno (2018-19). In her final CWHL season, Hickel was a league All-Star, First Star in the Clarkson Cup championship game, and finished third in the league for plus-minus in a league that included 17 Olympians.

She also played a stint in the Swedish Women’s Hockey League with Linköping HC where she paced the squad in points, served as strength coach, and ran on-ice skill sessions for senior- and junior-level teams.

“Not only was she a great player, but she is kind-hearted, family-centered, determined to win and committed to developing and growing the women’s game while educating and serving as a role model for the next generation,” said Muzerall. “We are proud to welcome her into our family and call her a Buckeye.”