The Gopher Hockey program made what had been rumored for a few days official on Monday when Scott Bell was named the new assistant coach. Bell replaces Grant Potulny who left Minnesota to take the head coach job at Northern Michigan.
Bell most recently was an amateur scout for the Pittsburgh Penguins organization and helped former Gopher Phil Kessel and the rest of the Penguins win back to back Stanley Cups. Bell was the main midwest scout responsible for Pittsburgh drafting Jake Guentzel, the son of Gopher Associate Head Coach Mike Guentzel, and the second highest scoring rookie in Stanley Cup Playoff history.
Bell played for Doug Woog and the Gophers from 1990-91 through 1994-95. In 146 career games he scored 81 points (41 g, 40 a). His senior season he played in all 41 games scoring 18 goals and 21 assists while also racking up 100 penalty minutes. He was a two-time captain and won the Mike Crupi Most Determined Player Award three times as a Gopher. After his Gopher career he played professionally in the IHL, AHL, ECHL, and UHL before retiring and getting into coaching.
Previous to scouting for Pittsburgh, Bell was the head coach at Hamline University in St Paul and led the Pipers to MIAC titles in 2008 and 2011. He coached and developed four First Team All-Americans and three MIAC Players of the Year. He coached Chris Berenguer who won the Sid Watson Award as the top player in NCAA Division III hockey in 2011.
Bell served as head coach and general manager of the Rockford Ice Hogs in the United Hockey League along with UHL assistant stints with the New Haven Knights and the Missouri River Otters. He was a collegiate assistant at St. Thomas and Augsburg before taking the Hamline job. He also has been an assistant in the United State Hockey League, the Upper Midwest High School Elite League and at his high school alma mater – Simley High School in Inver Grove Heights.
Bell continues a streak of all of the Gopher assistant coaches being alums. He joins Mike Guentzel and volunteer goalie coach Justin Johnson on Don Lucia’s staff.
The Gophers will begin the 2017-18 season on October 6 in the Ice Breaker Classic against UMD in Duluth.