Shocker: Gwozdecky Leaves DU

In a shocker, Denver’s George Gwozdecky is no longer the coach at the University of Denver. Here’s the release from DU:

DENVER – The University of Denver Division of Athletics and Recreation announced today that men’s head hockey coach George Gwozdecky will leave the hockey post he has held for 19 seasons. A national search will commence immediately for his replacement.

The Pioneers recently finished their final season in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA). Gwozdecky compiled a 443-267-64 record with DU (593-391-85 career), 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,” said Vice Chancellor for Athletics and Recreation Peg Bradley-Doppes. “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.

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

Gwozdecky will address the media in a press conference on Tuesday at 11 a.m. in the Champions Room.

86 Responses

  1. Bob Smith

    I bet he has an extension coming tomorrow. Nice work marketing department.

    However, if he truly has been fired, I know he’s excellent at coaching from the press box at the Ralph. Maybe he could be the overhead assistant at UND.

  2. Siouxfan7inDenver

    Not that a big of a shocker…he has been embattled with administration for a couple years over $$….and after 19yrs it is probably time for a change….

  3. John

    DU AD, “We feel that our performance over the last few years has not been up to par, but here is a 4 year extention.” GG, “Phht, I would do better in Grand Forks!” am I close?

  4. Viking1

    While everyone gets replaced eventually, I have a feeling A.D. Piggy (er, “Peggy”) is going to regret this one…. 🙂

  5. Big D

    Surprised that we haven’t heard of some more early signings after the weekend. Hoping to hear about a few Jrs/Sophs from Goofertown.

    1. The University of North Dakota is not going to fire Hakstol, it would take a very big buy out and he has done nothing that deserves his termination. Seriously! I can’t believe there are some that want to replace him. There are some that foam at the mouth when you say Dave’s name… Replace him with whom? Blais? The guy hasn’t gotten out of the first round of the WCHA playoff or made the NCAA tourney in two seasons. Sandy? He had one winning season where he got a favorable NCAA tourney draw and all the right domino fell in line. Other than that, the UMD fan base was ready to fire him too. Hakstol isn’t going anywhere and the minute he wins the NCAA title, there will be many running to catch up with his bandwagon.

      1. Optimistic

        I pray that you are correct but at this pace not sure I will still be able to walk let alone run to catch that band wagon! But his is a captive audience. I can’t see attendance waining in Grand Forks – hockey is what makes the winters pass. As long as they win their home games there is no reason to let him loose. They will continue to make money and sell trinkets and life will be good. Heck they changed conferences so that winning their conference is now a National championship! But, sooner or later someone will catch on!

  6. EdinaSiouxFan

    Andy is a gophers fan that loves to spend his time coming in the UND rooms to stir it up. Gosh is he fun 🙂

  7. Junior

    I’m sorry but its time for a change! Bring in a new coach! It’s time the coaching staff took responsibility! With all the talent that comes through UND the coach shouldn’t need the last weekend of season to get team to gel.

      1. Mike

        You realize that his assistants do 90% of that right? The head guy only goes to close the deal, if then.

        Amazing someone who is 0 for the big games (despite plenty of chances) can keep his job….almost like he’s married to the daughter of a prominent alumni leader or something….

          1. Viking1

            Are you really going to try to be rational and talk factually with the mental midgets calling for Hakstol’s head on this blog?

          2. Mark

            My last post on this topic (please, hold the applause). I think what everyone means by winning the big game is to win the last game of the year. There are none bigger.

    1. Walrus

      We have some outstanding recruits down the pipeline 96’s in particular, you think they wouldn’t think twice about major juniors or decommitting if the coach they committed to left?

      1. Tired of it

        I’ll believe it when I see them on the ice. Between now and then a lot can happen. See JT Miller, Matteau, etc. for examples.

  8. Yowzers

    If this turns out to be an April Fools joke, DU will be branded the Jackasses of the year for perpetuity.

  9. Optimistic

    Well, we were wondering who might be the next d1 coach (if we lost our coach) – now we will see! A bold move! But sometimes leaders have to make bold moves for the long term! Actually, I think a great candidate would be our own coach Jackson.

  10. Tom

    You guys are nuts if you think hakstol should be fired. Jerry York, Jack Parker and Red Berensen should have been fired after their 1st 10 years too then. There will be a time when people remember dave hakstol as one of the greatest college coaches ever.

      1. Sieve

        It isn’t.

        After winning one in 1978, Jack Parker went 15 years between titles at BU. Similarly, it took Jerry York 7 years at BC (17 if you count the years spent at Bowling Green following the 1984 title) to win his first championship, and it took Red Berenson 12 years after his hiring to win one at Michigan.

        Hakstol has been at the helm for less than a decade, and has already produced some of the best teams in program history. Those of you calling for his firing are neglecting to look at the big picture, and the long-term success of the program.

        1. Tired of it

          Sorry, Red Berenson started in 91-92 and won it all in 96 & 98. How is that 12 years? Was he an assistant coach? If so let’s throw in Hak’s time with Dean! Which by the way produced 0 NC’s. Hak doesn’t know what it’s like to be part of a NC team. When he played, we sucked. When he coaches, we lose.

          1. Sieve

            Berenson took over at Michigan in 1984 and didn’t win his first title until 1996.

            Does one loss to Yale really cause people to completely forget the 2011 team? Or the 2007 squad? The man has been to the Frozen Four 5 times in 9 years.

            The notion that he should be fired will die down again in a month or so, when the fanbase starts thinking rationally again.

        2. Tired of it

          Best teams in program history? I wouldn’t consider any team Hak has coached as better than the 1980, 1982, 1987 NC’s, and I’m not so sure the 1997 and 2000 team can be compared either. I think the 97 team had like 3 draft picks on it (memory is a little fuzzy). Hak’s great teams were great because of the players, the likes of Jonathan Toews, TJ Oshie, Ryan Duncan, etc. They sure weren’t because of Hak’s coaching. All he does if find a way for his teams to lose in the big games. He is NOT a good Bench Boss. He can recruit and develop players, he just isn’t a good big game coach. 10 more years and you may be convinced of this.

          1. Tired of it

            I stand corrected, it did take Red 12 years to win his first one. Sorry, I was doing it too quickly and mixed the facts up. I say 10 years is long enough. Give Hak one more year and if nothing to show then show him the door. The loss to Yale was a microcosm of the entire season. Hak had too many parts to insert here and there, and never did come up with a lineup that could put 2 good games together back to back. Then he changed every single line between Friday and Saturday again…Yeah, that worked. He did better with only 17 healthy bodies and no real decisions to make in 2011-12.

    1. Tired of it

      Get a grip Tom. If Wiki is right then:
      York: his first 10 years at BC he won a national championship once, finished runner up twice, lost in frozen four first game twice, and lost in a regional final once; overall record was 230-137-31 his first 10 years
      Parker: his first 10 years at boston he won a national a national championship (don’t know about his frozen four status); overall record was 200-90-8
      Berenson won 2 NC’s in his first ten years, has won 11 CCHA regular season titles and 9 CCHA playoff titles.
      I think i rest my case here:
      York won the NC five times; Parker won it all 3 times and Berenson twice. To compare hak to those three is a joke!

      1. Tired of it… Talk is cheap, write a check for a million plus, because that is what it’s going to take this to get rid of a successful hockey division I hockey coach that is respected around hockey circles and the NHL.

        1. Mark

          I said I was tired of it, I didn’t say my last name is Engelstad. Geez! However, isn’t his contract up soon? Would letting him go cost a million dollars and if so, how? Yes, talk is cheap and I at least have plenty of time so I’m yappin’.

      2. RB

        Berenson did not win a national championship twice in his first 10 years. His first year was the 1984-85 season and they didn’t win it until 1996 (and again in 1998).

        I don’t think that I would use him as a comparison for the first 10 years. He inherited a program that was in sorry shape. The Wolverines had managed one NCAA appearance (runner up 1977) from 1964 (their last title before Red) until Red was hired.

        They didn’t really turn things around under him until the 1989-90 season (24-12-6) and the following year they started their lengthy NCAA run that just ended.

  11. Junior

    Eades should be first choice for Hakstols replacement & yes Hakstol will be remembered as a great coach that hasn’t been able to win the BIG games!

  12. Tom

    Niether could the 3 guys previously mentioned that have 10 national championships combined. None had won it all in their 1st 10 years. Yeah, they should have been fired.

    1. Tired of it

      Again, Jack Parker started as head coach in the 73-74 season and the terriers won the NC in 1978. Is that within 10 years? But let’s look locally. Gino Gasparini started coaching in 78-79 and finished runner up his first year and won it all in his second, fourth and 9th years. Dean Blais if I remember correctly started in 94-95 and won it in 97 and again in 2000, with a runner up (when he almost pulled off a great come from behind win by pulling his goalie with over 4 minutes to go but lost in OT) in 2001. Finally, Jerry York started at Bowling Green in 79-80, and won it in 83-84, well within the 9 years we are using for comparison. After leaving BG for BC (94-95) he won the NC in 2000-01, again within the 9 year time frame. Really, what are you looking at for your facts?

  13. Dave

    Remember what happened to Dean Blais? When he went to the NHL after the 04 season, he said ten years is long enough at a school. I can understand what he was talking about after reading all these dum bass comments.

    1. Tired of it

      No, he said 10 years is long enough in any job/position. I think his rational at the time was you lose some of the fire and motivation you brought with when you started; not that fans were bad-mouthing him. That said, I do believe he recanted and said he wished he hadn’t left. Another lame ass attempt at justification for Hak falls short. You do need really thick skin to be a coach, so I doubt any of this affects Hak personally at all.

  14. Jason

    Not a fan of DU and certainly fall in the camp critical of Georges behavior in past years. With that said this is monumental failure by our biggest rival. They will look back on this day many time in the future and wonder what the hell did we do. Those of you who are so certain that a new coach will change the outcome of our favorite teams fate are really delusional. I wonder how many of you actually know the history of the program and realize that we have NEVER had this level of sustained success. I acknowledge that they have yet to win the NC but that is the only thing that is missing. And I have no doubt that it will. Please get your heads out of your a_____ and ralize that the Sioux are much better with Hak then without him.

  15. Nate

    You guys are funny. It was a much different game when the coaches you’re bringing up were winning their first titles. It is harder to win the NCAA tournament now than it has ever been. Prior to Hakstol’s tenure as head coach, there was less parity, teams were given tournament byes, higher seeds hosted NCAA games, there were best-of-three series’ in the NCAA tournament, and probably most significant – much higher average scoring margins in previous years led to more room for error.

  16. Junior

    Just hope future recruits don’t start to de-commit realizing the coach is never going to motivate the team enough to get that title! He’s clearly out coached every time he gets to the dance!

  17. Nate

    Junior, please, tell those of us that believe Hakstol is the best coach for the team how it is clear to you that he has been “out-coached”. How does one person “out-coach” someone else? How can you tell it has happened “every time” we have lost in the NCAAs? Did it happen when we won our NCAA tournament games and he just got lucky? How about regular season games, is he routinely “out-coached” there as well and is simply getting lucky bounces to win WCHA playoff and league championships? Do you know the secret to what “it” is that a person needs in order to not be “out-coached”? Is there something we can measure? If so, you should start a business as a consultant. You could make millions.

    1. Viking1

      Junior is too busy pushing his broom to go into consulting. Soon however, management will restructure the amount of mentally-deficient workers they employ,and he will be able to branch out into other fields…. 🙂

  18. Tired of it

    Fine, keep Hakstol, keep winning regular season stuff and keep choking at the Big Dance. One day it will dawn on you that he isn’t all you think he is. It’s the pressure of the big game that has Hak’s number. Look at him on the bench during any of those losses and you’ll see something akin to a deer caught in your headlights. As far as it being more difficult to win a NCAA championship nowadays? Jerry York doesn’t really think so. He probably would believe it’s easier because you don’t have to beat a team in a best of 3, it’s one and done. Get hot, win 4 games, you’re NC. Conversely, our team could hardly put back to back wins together the whole season, much less 4 in a row. What, did we sweep Holy Cross and anyone else this year? No sweeps in the WCHA is acceptable I guess as long as we get to the tourney in time to lose. Get used to it cause that’s what lies ahead….I have looked into the magic 8-ball 🙂 His nickname is Hak for more than one reason!

    1. Who would you want to replace Hak? Inexperienced Eades, Jackson, Shyak? Get real. Any team would just all over Hak if we are ever stupid enough to let him go.

      1. Mark

        Like I’ve said before, there would be a ton of applicants that would apply for the ND job. They would have a selection committee and find the best candidate for the job. I wouldn’t point to any one candidate at this point in time. One would need to research who the best fit would be. I doubt Hak would fare near as well if he didn’t have the Palace known as the Ralph with which to recruit players. Send him over to Mich Tech and see how he does. My money would be on ‘not as good as they guy they have right now (Pearson)’ option. Hak has never really had to recruit, the Ralph recruits for him. Kids walk into the Ralph and commit on the spot, it’s happened so many times it’s not funny. Put Hak on equal footing with the Pearson’s, the Motzko’s and the Hastings of the college hockey world and see how he does….my guess is nowhere near as well. Hak gets the players because the Ralph sells the program, plain and simple.

  19. Junior

    Did you see game Sat. what happened between 1st & 2nd period? Yale coach made adjustments I guess that would be coaching his team right? & they never looked back!!! What did Hak do same thing he always does nothing!!! Same game plan show up & play part of a game & part of a weekend series! He’s no different from a guy running a business if you can’t get the job done they will find someone that can!!!

  20. Ben

    Those who think Hakstol needs to be fired need to stop taking hallucinogenics. His NC will come eventually. The NCAA tournament is as difficult as ever with every conference now sending teams that can win it all. The ECAC and AHA teams are not one-and-done anymore; they’re good enough to win it all, which means that even the #1 seed needs to win 4 consecutive games against top competition to win.

    That said, this is the 2nd longest period without a NC in North Dakota history. Continued success in conference play is the only thing Hak has to fall back on right now. If that starts to slip in NCHC, it my be time for a change in a few years.

    1. Mark

      Yeah, let’s wait a few more years and waste a few more player’s talent. Anyone heard of Doug Woog? Hak’s story sounds eerily similar.

  21. Optimistic

    If you are objective you have to admit that coach Hakstol’s numbers are impressive. Winning a little north of 60% of his games over the years. Nine for nine NCAA tournament appearances with five Frozen Four appearances. Pretty good I would say! Now equally objective guess who also won about the same percentage of games over his last nine years as a division 1 coach (the number of years as Hak’s), was also nine for nine in NCAA appearances with five Frozen Four appearances? Give up? It was Doug Woog?

  22. Huh

    All you gopher fans can go back to GPL any time now. You sure as hell aren’t Sioux fans.

    And for those of you pining for Eades, get over it. He made his own bed, so to speak, and it cost him his job. Yeah, he is a legend at UND. That won’t ever change.

    Berry didn’t just come in off a turnip truck or anything. That guy can coach as well. You don’t see many assistants in college hockey move up to the NHL as assistant coaches. Give it some freaking time. Did he all of a sudden forget how to coach?

    To you that made the comment about only assistant coaches doing the majority of the recruiting… if your dumbass theory is true, who recruited the players on the 2000 title team? Or was it the head coach back then? Remember, its your theory.

    If you are indeed Sioux fans, get a grip. Just because UND hasn’t won a title in the nine years you’ve followed the team is not reason to jump off a bridge.

    Support the program and quit looking like spoiled brats.

    1. Mark

      “if your dumbass theory is true, who recruited the players on the 2000 title team? Or was it the head coach back then? Remember, its your theory. ”

      I’ll help him out a little here. That would have been Scott Sandelin, excellent recruiter as I remember him. He left after the 2000 NC. Won a NC at Duluth a couple years ago too! But I’m not a Sioux fan.

      1. Mark

        To be clear here, Dean did a lot of the recruiting too. He was always leaving right after games and heading somewhere to watch some kid play. It’s a group effort though for sure.

        1. huh

          Its a group effort now, too.

          Or do some of you really think that Hak goes home and has a martini waiting for him after every game?

          Yeah, right, only Dean Blais (or Blaise as some of you loyalists prefer) went on the road as a head coach. Only Dean Blais teams didn’t give up 3rd period leads. Only Dean Blais teams win national championships.and so on and so on…

          You know what? Dean Blais isn’t coming through that door.

          1. SiouxperKev

            No, Dean is not coming through that door. He’s sitting by his maroon phone waiting for the call from Goofer nation (according to the Goofer hopefully). BTW not gonna happen either.

            Oh and another BTW, I haven’t seen Dean at many Frozen Fours lately either. I guess he’s busy recruiting (no disrespect intended to Dean).

    2. Optimistic

      Wait a minute please, please the passion you see in this thread IS because we support our program! We have had a number of college hockey’s best players flow through our program in the last nine years. Is it selfish to have expected a national championship, perhaps. The frustration that has become evident with this thread is a derivative of the passion that is Sioux hockey! Do we have high expectations, Afraid so!

  23. EdinaSiouxFan

    Mark or “Tired of it” do you have a career of some kind? Something to do besides make your case? Looking at your postings it looks like this is all you are doing. So lets make this simple. We understand who you want fired. Got it. Noted. However, some will agree and many will not. Your endless posts aren’t winning anyone over. So deep breath. Move on. Get a new hobby. But you’ve been heard. We don’t need 20 messages from you and repeating things over and over. I disagree with your thinking. Such is life :). I’m not personally impacted by it and life goes on ha.

    1. Mark

      Nope, I have plenty of other things to do. Thanks for caring. How can I argue with THE voice of reason? And this is the part where we start shooting the messenger because we don’t like the message 🙂

  24. Mark

    That rat Hak cut me freshman year, I’ve never gotten over it, and I’m “tired of it”. I guess he just wasn’t innovative enough to give a rummed-up speedster on double runners a fair chance. Fire Hak!!!!

        1. Mark

          Better check the email address of the first Mark that posted. I’m sure not that hard up for acknowledgement.

          1. huh

            good stuff. Its the IP address that he just might have access to. You can change the email address that you fill in all you want. Doesn’t do a thing. Maybe you’re not a Gopher fan, but an FU fan??

  25. Sooooo

    So if UND holds on the last 7.5 min and is waiting to play in the frozen four in a week, how many of you are questioning every microscopic thing Hak does?
    Also, where’s the responsibility of the players? They’re the ones playing the game, yet no one here wants to hold them accountable. As a coach, you can only do so much. The obliviousness of half the posters on here is astounding.

    1. Tired of it

      That is part of the problem, UND was obviously just holding on. Once that first goal went in for Yale most fans knew it was over as they had all the momentum since about the 10 mark of the first period (with the exception of a great play by Knight). No killer instinct with Sioux teams lately, we let most every team hang in there till the end.
      Also, this is not the first year of failure nor the first time this issue has been aired. Some have had issues with Hak since he was signed without going thru normal procedures (search committee, candidates, interviews, whittle it down and hire) while others jumped on board along the way. The players for the last nine years change from year to year, and the chemistry of a team does as well, so you can’t say these players are any more to fault than the ones that failed before them. What you can do is point to the one constant that’s been there thru it all and that is most of the coaching staff. All of them actually, as Berry was there at the start of Hak’s career.
      You say as a coach you can only do so much, but I like the Roger Thomas quote where he stated ‘if the team shows up not ready for a game, that’s on me’. I’ve seen our teams show up so not ready for so many games it’s sad. The 3 beatings by BC in the tourney come to mind as especially painful memories. Seriously, about 7,000 ND fans made their way to Denver to watch a 6-1 shallacking by BC. Was our team ready to play that game? I have my doubts. How about you?

  26. SiouxperKev

    Wasnt this article about Gwoz getting the boot? Just wondering with all the Hak talk. So back on topic…

    I’ve never been a fan of Lil’ Napoleon, but I dont believe he deserved this fate. Gwoz ran a tight ship and will land on his feet somewhere real soon. Yes, his press conference was nothing but class (I expected an a$$ ripping); I just wish he would have had that kind of class behind the bench. Georgie’s antics are legendary.

  27. EdinaSiouxFan

    Hahahahaha exactly. Fun conversation he is having there. I wonder if he also hears multiple voices?

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