The Toronto Maple Leafs announced on Thursday that they had hired Minnesota Golden Gophers assistant coach Scott Bell to be an amateur scout. Bell had completed one season as an assistant with the Gophers and still had one more year on his contract with the U. New Gopher coach Bob Motzko had retained Bell on his staff and let Minnesota’s other former assistant coach Mike Guentzel go. Motzko hired his former assistant at St. Cloud State Garrett Raboin to replace Guenzel in April.
Bell was hired by Don Lucia in June of 2017 to take over the assistant coach vacancy left by Grant Potulny getting the head coaching job at Northern Michigan. Bell played for the Gophers from 1991-1995 and was a two-time captain. Prior to being hired by the Gophers, Bell spend five seasons as an amateur scout for the Pittsburgh Penguins and helped them sign several players who helped them win back to back Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017.
Bell received mixed reviews in his one season as an assistant for the Gophers. He was impact in recruiting upper midwest players and had a great eye for talent, but was lacking at times in his coaching style. The Gophers struggled offensively last season and were abysmal on the power play, two areas where Bell was supposedly influential.
We will always have this great gif that Bell provided to us for 13 glorious months:
Thrilled to welcome a future Gopher to the family! Welcome to @GopherHockey! #Gophers pic.twitter.com/SzE1tth0pt— Scott Bell (@MNCoachBell) March 16, 2018
The question now turns to who Bob Motzko will hire as his second assistant coach with just two months before the season starts. Most Minnesota fans would say that would like to see another Gopher alum fill that spot. Potential names that would fit that category include former Grand Rapids High School coach Trent Klatt who is currently finishing his degree at the U, Former Hartford Wolfpack (AHL) coach Ken Gernander, and current Chicago Steel (USHL) assistant coach Ben Gordon.
It is possible that Motzko could look for someone he was worked before who may have St. Cloud State ties. One name that would fit that category would be former Huskie star and current St. Cloud State women’s coach Eric Rud.
In either case, its fairly likely that Bell’s replacement will be hired quickly. Motzko most likely knew much earlier than the public of Bell’s intention to depart, and with the season rapidly approaching Motzko will want to complete his staff sooner rather than later.
The Gophers will kick off their season October 6th in Duluth against the defensing NCAA Champion UMD Bulldogs.