St. Cloud, MN – St. Cloud State University assistant men’s hockey coach Mike Gibbons announced his retirement today after 44 years coaching hockey at various amateur and professional levels. Coach Gibbons announced via Twitter “After having spent the last 40 years living the dream of coaching hockey, I have made the decision to retire. I am blessed to have spent a lifetime coaching hockey and want to thank all of the players, parents, coaches, friends and fans.”
Head coach Brett Larson noted “Mike Gibbons has played a pivotal role in the success of the hockey program here at St. Cloud State since his arrival in 2007-08. The Huskies have been very fortunate to have Mike as part of our staff. His ability as a coach on the ice, recruiter and mentor for our players has helped position St. Cloud State among the best in college hockey. We wish Mike the best as he begins this new chapter of his life.”
Gibbons further stated “In the 14 years I have been associated with the program, my wife and I have fallen in love with St. Cloud State, the community, the fans, the players and the staff. I am certainly proud of our All-America and NHL players, but I am most proud of our players’ quality of character during my time at St. Cloud State. We have had outstanding student-athletes here at SCSU and they have helped make this program great. ”
He also acknowledged former SCSU coach Bob Motzko stating “I would like to thank Bob Motzko for taking a chance on me coming out of the high school coaching ranks back in 2007, and I would like to thank Brett Lason and Nick Oliver for their work over the past two seasons. I think Brett (Larson) and Nick (Oliver) are two superstars and I have no doubt that they can bring home a national title to St. Cloud State.”
Gibbons, a White Bear Lake, MN native was a collegiate player and coach at Bemidji State University and an assistant coach at SCSU since 2007. He joined the staff of head coach Bob Motzko in 2007 when Motzko was entering his third season as head coach of the Huskies.
Gibbons extensive coaching career began after skating for Bemidji State University from 1975 to 1979 earning All-American status as a defenseman and as a member of the Bemidji’s National Championship team in 1979. He joined BSU as an assistant under Bob Peters in 1981 and served as interim head coach during the 1982-83 season leading the Beavers to a 30-6-1 season and runner-up in the NCAA Division II championships. He was named NCHA Coach of the Year and College Division Coach of the Year as a result of his efforts.
Following his coaching stint at Bemidji, Gibbons spent 1983 to 1988 as an assistant with Northern Michigan University, 1988 to 1990 at Colorado College, and 1990 to 1994 at Denver University.
Gibbons continued his coaching as head coach for the Langley Thunder of the British Columbia Junior Hockey League in 1994-95 and moved on to the professional ranks as an assistant coach for the Baltimore Bandits of the American Hockey League from 1995 to 1997. Coincidentally, he coached the Bandits while former SCSU star forward and future NHLer, Matt Cullen skated for the Bandits in 1996-987.
Gibbons returned to Minnesota as head coach of Eastview High School and remained there from 1997 to 2007 and compiled a 131-120-13 overall record.
He joined Bob Motzko’s staff in 2007 and was a key recruiter for the program and instrumental in developing a pipeline to Finland recruiting players including Kalle Kossila, Rasmus Reijola, Niklas Nevalainen, Mika Ilvonen and current Husky Jami Krannila. He was instrumental in a highly successful run at St. Cloud State including NCAA tournament teams in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019. Additionally, his teams won the McNaughton Cup in 2012-13 and the Penrose Cup three times since joining the NCHC in 2013-14.
In 2016 the American College Hockey Coaches Association named Gibbons the recipient of the Terry Flanagen Award recognizing him for his career achievements as an assistant hockey coach.