Longtime coach Gibbons returns home, joins Bemidji State men’s hockey team as new assistant

New Bemidji State assistant coach Mike Gibbons (center) is flanked by fellow assistant Travis Winter (left) and head coach Tom Serratore (right) (photo: Mike Gibbons/Twitter).

Bemidji State announced Thursday that Mike Gibbons will return to his alma mater to join the men’s hockey coaching staff as an assistant coach.

A national champion and two-time All-American as a Beaver, Gibbons played for legendary coach R.H. “Bob” Peters from 1975 to 1979 and began his coaching career at BSU.

Gibbons fills the role vacated by Eddie Olczyk, who left the BSU coaching staff after four seasons to take a position as an amateur scout for the NHL’s Seattle Kraken.

“’Gibby’ will be a great addition to our staff,” said Beavers head coach Tom Serratore in a statement. “Not only is he a tremendous coach with experience at all levels of hockey, but he is a proven, successful recruiter who understands the makeup of a championship-caliber team. As an alumnus, he already knows Bemidji State and Beaver hockey well.

“He is part of the historic fabric of this program and we are fortunate to have him back.”

“It means a lot to be back. Bemidji State Hockey has had such an impact on my life, being able to come back full circle is unbelievable,” added Gibbons. “I may have left Beaver hockey in 1983, but the Beaver hockey culture has never left me. Everywhere I have coached, I have tried to replicate that culture, so I am already familiar with it and I believe I will fit in very nicely here.

“To me, a coaching staff is like a good line in hockey. It is not a matter of how good any individual is, it is a matter of how well the three blend together. I am looking forward to working together with Tom and (assistant coach) Travis (Winter) to do whatever I can to help make Bemidji State the best team it can be.”

Gibbons joins the BSU staff after nearly 40 years in coaching. Most recently, he retired from St. Cloud State in March after a 14-year run as an assistant on the Huskies’ men’s hockey coaching staff.

A graduate of BSU, where he was a standout blueliner for the Beavers from 1975 to 1979, Gibbons gained All-America notice in 1978 and 1979 and helped BSU win a national title in 1979.

He began his coaching career at BSU as an assistant coach in 1981 and later served as an interim head coach during the 1982-83 campaign. That season he led the Beavers to a 30-6-1 record, a NCHA championship and a trip to the NCAA Division II championship game. For his efforts and the team’s success, Gibbons was selected the NCHA Coach of the Year and the Edward Jeremiah College Division National Coach of the Year.

Gibbons moved to Northern Michigan in 1983 where he served as an assistant coach with the Wildcats’ hockey program until 1988. He went on to serve as an assistant coach at Colorado College (1988-1990) and Denver (1990-1994). After leaving Denver, Gibbons worked for one year as the head coach for the Langley Thunder in the British Columbia Junior Hockey League.

From 1995 to 1997, Gibbons moved into the professional ranks as an assistant coach with the Baltimore Bandits, the Anaheim Ducks’ top affiliate in the AHL. Gibbons returned to Minnesota in 1997 to take over as head coach at Eastview High School and remained there for 10 seasons.

In 2006, Gibbons served as an assistant coach for the U.S. National Junior Team, which placed fourth at the World Junior Tournament in Vancouver, B.C. In 1993, he was a co-head coach with Scott Owens of the USA Select Team and he has coached numerous USA Hockey Select 17 teams during his career.

Gibbons received the American Hockey Coaches Association’s Terry Flanagan Award in 2016. The award is presented annually and it honors an assistant coach’s career body of work.