George Gwozdecky is leaving the Tampa Bay Lightning after spending two seasons as an assistant coach on Jon Cooper’s staff the club announced on Monday.
Gwozdecky joined the Lightning on Aug. 9, 2013 after serving as the head coach at the University of Denver for 19 seasons.
“Jon Cooper and I, along with the entire Lightning organization, would like to thank George and his family for giving us the past two years,” GM Steve Yzerman said in a statement. “He helped turn a young, unproven team into the Eastern Conference Champions and we appreciate his professionalism and dedication.”
The 61-year-old told the Tampa Bay Times that he’s been considering leaving the club for a while.
“I have nothing but great memories, great things to say about the team, about the organization,” Gwozdecky said. “It was a great learning experience.”
Gwozdecky will attend this week’s NHL Draft with the Lightning and be apart of the coaches association meetings before heading home to Denver.
Mike Chambers of The Denver Post reports that Gwozdecky could be an ideal candidate to replace Andre Tourigny in Colorado, but Gwozdecky says he has not heard from the Avs.
“Not leaning in any direction right now except to get some much-needed (rest and relaxation),” Gwozdecky told Chambers via text message. “I have not spoken with anybody in the Avs organization but I’m sure I would if they call.”
Tourigny announced his resignation last month.
Photo courtesy of the Tampa Bay Lightning
New Tampa Bay Lightning assistant coach George Gwozdecky is getting his first taste of work in the NHL at age 60 and it’s not something he planned on doing.
This summer, Gwozdecky was suddenly fired as head coach at the University of Denver. After 19 seasons, two national championships, and numerous conference titles and NCAA tournament appearances he was out of work.
As Erik Erlendsson of The Tampa Tribune reports, it’s something he’s still smarting over.
“I don’t think you ever get over being jilted, whether it’s your first high school dance and the pretty girl in the corner says, ‘Get lost,'” Gwozdecky said. “That’s kind of tough to take the rejection. But certainly I’ve got a lot more positive feelings about our years and the people I worked with, the great players I worked with, than with one person’s decision.”
Sounds like his time in high school was eerily similar to mine.
With Gwozdecky now in Tampa, he’ll be reunited with one of his former players in Matt Carle. If that reunion works out for Carle, it’ll give a lift to Tampa’s defense and that’s something they could really use this season.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
See what happens when you lose three in a row? People start to get nervous. Fortunately for the Winnipeg Jets, the Hurricanes and Capitals aren’t doing much to catch them in the Southeast. (Winnipeg Free Press)
Welcome back, Bobby Ryan. He snapped a six-game goalless streak against the Stars last night. (Orange County Register)
Former Devils like Ken Daneyko, Stephane Richer, Claude Lemieux, Slava Fetisov, and Sergei Brylin will play an alumni game for Sandy relief. Pretty cool. (Fire & Ice)
Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff says they can be both buyers and sellers at the deadline. That’s not confusing at all. (Winnipeg Sun)
They’re ready for the rebuild in Buffalo after seeing Jordan Leopold and Robyn Regehr dealt the last two days. (Buffalo News)
Turns out Ryane Clowe’s impending trade wasn’t a distraction for the Sharks last night. Still, pretty crazy he’s getting the Jarome Iginla treatment. (CSNBayArea.com)
Big decisions await Dallas GM Joe Nieuwendyk at the trade deadline. (Dallas Morning News)
Speaking of Dallas, Brenden Morrow wanted to be a Star for life. D’oh… (DMN)
Finally, from the college ranks: The Denver Pioneers fired 19-year head coach George Gwozdecky. He’d only taken the team to 20 wins each of the last 12 years and has led them to two national championships. What a bum, right? Sheesh. (Denver Post)