POSITIVE + MOTIVATIONAL + EXPERIENCED
Our goal is to bring local and world class coaches to the best place on Earth, the Brainerd Lakes Area. Our coaches bring a tremendous amount of knowledge, expertise and commitment to each training session and offer the best possible training conditions for our athletes. Fostering high levels of professionalism, energy, motivation, their wide-range of playing and coaching experience helps them both connect with the kids and become role models.
Our coaches always show up with smiles on their faces! They've been extensively schooled in the ideologies and methodologies that we believe in and support.
We have assembled a staff of highly qualified, former college athletes to put players through intense but fun training and drills both on and off the ice.
Utilizing our training, playing and coaching experiences along with the hockey resources available in the BLA, our intention is to create, teach and improve youth hockey players into top performers.
Having fun is at the core of our camp! It's our mission to engage young athletes in such a way that masks the hard work with fun skill-building drills and games.
COACH + OWNER
Gaven Bickford is the current (USHL) Madison Capitols Assistant Coach and Director of Scouting. Bickford joined the Capitols following a three year tenure with the Minnesota Magicians. After two seasons as the Magicians' Assistant Coach, Bickford was promoted to General Manager and Director of Scouting with the Magicians during the 2020-21 season. Bickford has overseen 30 NCAA commitments; including 18 at the Division 1 level and three NHL draft picks.
As General Manager and Director of Scouting, Bickford oversaw all aspects of hockey and business operations including managing the coaching staff, leading recruiting efforts and player movement, as well as operating off-season hockey programming and strategic plan for the overall growth of the organization.
Throughout the years, Gaven has developed a passion for all levels of hockey and gives back through coaching. He has directed and counseled numerous hockey camps around the Midwest. Gaven is from Crosslake, Minnesota where he played his youth and High School hockey for the Northern Lakes Lightning.
"I coach because I love the game and love helping kids reach their goals whether that's making their top youth team, the varsity team, playing juniors or even college hockey, I want to mentor and advocate for them through the process"
Bickford played his youth and High School hockey for the Northern Lakes Lightning. After High School, Gaven attended Siena College in Albany, New York, where he earned a degree in Marketing and was a member of the Club Hockey Team (ACHA).
The native of Crosslake, Minnesota currently resides in Madison, WI with his fiance, Emily.
COACH + OWNER
The last few seasons Emily has coached for various associations and programs across the Twin Cities, most recently as the Head Coach for Gentry Academy Girls High School Team. In previous hockey seasons she has worked for Minneapolis and Blaine youth hockey associations as both a coach and girls hockey coordinator + mentor. She continues to stay involved with the MN district Tier One Spring and Fall programs, CCM High Performance coaching and evaluations, many AAA summer teams and USA Hockey Clinics. In addition to the Northerner Hockey Camp, she also work for MAPSouth hockey training program as the High School tier director and continue to play (for fun!) with WHAM (Women's Hockey Association of Minnesota).
"I consider my coaching style as very competitive yet holistic. I coach to build up young, resilient women to find successes in their athletics but also in their academics, relationship and futures." -Emily Erickson
Growing up in northern Minnesota (Crosslake, MN) her youth hockey was played at the Breezy Point Ice Arena, in junior high she played for her high school hockey team formerly known as the Pequot Lakes Patriots (now, Northern Lakes Lighting) before transferring to a hockey prep school in 10th grade in Stowe, VT (NAHA- North American Hockey Academy). From there she would go on to play D1 hockey and D3 golf for Union College (ECAC) in Schenectady, NY.
Emily graduated from Union College in 2017 with a double major in Economics and Entrepreneurship and currently works across the twin cities for an international commercial real estate company and very much looks forward to hosting a camp in her hometown to give back to all of the local, aspiring hockey players in the BLA!.
Tyler is in his second year of helping with the Northerner Hockey Camp! He always show up to the rink with a big smile and we feel so fortunate to have him as a part of our staff!
He is currently the Head Coach of Wilkes University (D3) in Wilkes, PA. As a player, Tyler played for Omaha Lancer and Fargo Force in the USHL before suiting up for the Union Dutchman (D1) for four years.
Coach Bre is an essential part of our #NHCfamily and is in her second year helping with the Northerner Hockey Camp!
Bre is currently the Assistant Varsity Coach at Gentry Academy. Before coaching, Bre attended Hamline University, where she is in the all-time leading scorer. During her Junior year, she was earned Laura Hurd Award for the D3 Player of the Year. She’s the all time leading scorer at Hamline University!
Bre brings great enthusiasm, passion and a sense of humor to our camp and we are so grateful to have her!
Marko is in his second year with helping with the Northerner Hockey Camp!
He is currently a Sophomore at Mercyhurst University majoring in Communications. Prior to college, he played 51 games wearing the captain's C for the Minnesota Magicians of the NAHL. He dished out 24 assists to go with nine goals for a total of 33 points. He was also a former Captain at the USHL level!
Marko is cool tempered, intelligent and is always in the right place at the right time. He brings a plethora of coaching knowledge and personal player experience to our team!
Coach Sydney is in her second year coaching with the Northerner Hockey Camp! She combines her teaching experience with her hockey knowledge to provide each player the best possible instruction.
Sydney is a native of the Brainerd Lakes Area and grew up playing for the Northern Lakes Lightning repping the C on her jersey! She won many awards throughout her high school career including; All-State selection, All-honorable mention recipient, Tabbed MVP, and graduated with honors! She is currently a senior at Suffolk University in Boston, MA. majoring in Psychical Therapy.
Sydney brings a smile to the rink every day of camp and has a knack for connecting with youth players!
DIRECTOR OF MARKETING
Hannah has been with us since the first thought of The NHC!
She is the owner of Simulated Media and the mastermind behind all of our marketing efforts. Not only did she create our logo and website, but she manages our social media platforms, captures photos of the kids training all week and assists with other business tasks that help ensure the camp runs smoothly.