Athletics & Recreation / Magazine Feature

Hockey coach bids farewell to fans and supporters

An emotional George Gwozdecky looked back over his 19-year coaching career at the University of Denver during a press conference Tuesday morning.

The Pioneer men’s hockey coach was released from his contract Monday morning, three days after the Pioneers failed to advance in the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in the last six years.

“It has been an honor and a true privilege to be the varsity hockey coach at the University of Denver over the last 19 years,” Gwozdecky said. “I am truly proud of the work that we have done to continue to build on the great Pioneer hockey tradition. Our consistency on the ice and in the classroom over the years has been a focal point of our work, and I’m very proud of what we have achieved. I will forever cherish the relationships we have built with our community, our staff and, most importantly, our former and current players.”

Gwozdecky stressed that he was not done coaching. “I’ve spent the last 34 years coaching, mentoring, teaching young people to assist them in developing a more mature attitude toward life,” he said, “and I’m excited to explore the many avenues that may be available to me.”

The Pioneers recently finished their final season in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA). Gwozdecky compiled a 443-267-64 record with DU, finishing the 2012–13 season 20-14-5 with a conference record of 14-9-5.

“We certainly wish George the best in his future endeavors, and we are thankful for his 19 years at the helm of our hockey program,” Peg Bradley-Doppes, vice chancellor for athletics and recreation, said in a press release issued Monday. “He certainly had his fair share of success, returning the program to the pinnacle of the collegiate hockey world during our great run in the middle of the previous decade. In addition, he has always run our program with class and professionalism, which has certainly made our fans proud to be Pioneer supporters.

“We must now turn our attention toward a new direction for our hockey program with another innovative coach taking the lead for our inaugural season in the newly formed National Collegiate Hockey Conference.”

The Pioneers captured two NCAA championships, three WCHA regular-season titles and four WCHA playoff titles during Gwozdecky’s 19-year tenure.



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