George Gwozdecky was fired as DU hockey coach, and a national search for his successor has begun

Gwozdecky compiled a 443-267-64 record with DU

DENVER - The University of Denver Division of Athletics and Recreation announced Monday that men’s head hockey coach George Gwozdecky will leave the hockey post he has held for 19 seasons.

Numerous reports said Gwozdecky was hoping for a contract extension but a disagreement led to his dismissal Monday. The Pioneers have lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament five of the last six years.

A national search will commence immediately for his replacement, the university said.

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.

"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."

"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.

Gwozdecky will address the media in a press conference on Tuesday at 11 a.m. 7NEWS will attempt to carry that press conference live.

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