Photos provided by USA Hockey
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Nadine Muzerall, head coach for The Ohio State University women’s hockey program, has bolstered her coaching staff with the addition of Zoe Hickel as assistant coach. Hickel brings five years of professional playing and coaching experience, as well as two World Championships with Team USA, to campus.
“I am honored to be joining the women’s hockey program at Ohio State,” Hickel said. “The standard of excellence Coach 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 Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA), serving as a two-year captain during her college career (2011-15) at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Not only did she lead the Bulldogs in scoring, but was also named a finalist for the Hockey Humanitarian Award in ’15.
“When hiring a coach you need to look at the complete package,” Muzerall said. “Yes the XOs 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 [WCHA], 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 Nations Women’s Hockey League (NWHL)’s Boston Pride. She earned a spot in the All-Star Game in both seasons and hoisted the NWHL Isobel Cup Championship 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 College integrate and thrive during its inaugural D-I season. While donning the Stars & Stripes, she seized the pair of aforementioned World Championships and added four Nations Cup titles.
Hickel ventured north (and around the globe) for her next professional step, spending two seasons in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) splitting time between the Kunlin Red Star based in China (’17-18) and the Calgary Inferno (’18-19). In her final CWHL season, Hickel was a league All-Star, 1st Star in the Clarkson Cup Championship game and finished third in the league for plus-minus. The league included 17 Olympians.
Next up was a stint in the Swedish Women’s Hockey League (SDHL), skating for 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. We are proud to welcome her into our family and call her a Buckeye,” Muzerall said.
Much of her professional playing career was flanked by coaching and training experiences. Hickel’s extensive roles include:
-ZOPRO – coaching platform providing training and healthy life style consulting (2017-current)
– Linköping HC Strength Coach (2019-20)
-P3 Sports Academy – on-ice skills development coach; strength & conditioning coach (2018-current)
-Kunlun Red Star – player, coach and sport ambassador (2017-18)
-Merrimack College – volunteer assistant coach (2015-16)
-Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning Intern (2014-16)
-SHARKS (Strong Healthy Active Responsible Kids (2104-15)
-Alaska All-Stars Coach (2011-current)
-SPYDER (Sports Program for Youth Development, Education & Recreation (2002-current)
Hickel graduated from Minnesota Duluth with a bachelor of Arts in Communications and a minor in Coaching.