Former DU hockey coach Gwozdecky thanks community following two decades on the bench

Gwozdecky led Pioneers to consecutive titles

DENVER - Holding back emotions at times, George Gwozdecky thanked fans and his former players during a goodbye press conference following his ouster as head coach of the University of Denver hockey team.

"It’s been an honor and a true privilege to be the varsity hockey coach at the University of Denver for the past 19 years," he said Tuesday. "I will forever cherish the relationships we have built in the Denver community with our fans, our staff, and most importantly, our former and current players."

Gwozdecky ends an impressive tenure that included back-to-back NCAA national championships in 2004-05 and a National Coach of the Year award.

But quick exits from the Frozen Four Tournament in five of the past six years helped create a schism that eventually led Gwozdecky's firing.

"It was my expectation and my plan to finish my career here at DU," he said.

Gwozdecky finished his DU career with a 443-267-64 record. He led the Pioneers to fifteen 20-victory seasons.

"Our record on and off the ice will stand for itself," he said. "Certainly the string of consecutive losses in the postseason, at the NCAA Tournament, was disappointing. I understand that we have to win. And we have to win a lot of games. And we have to win those games not only during the season, but in the postseason."

Gwozdecky said while he was hoping to finish his coaching career in Denver, he has no intentions to give up coaching.

The Pioneers were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament last Friday after a 5-2 first-round loss to New Hampshire.