Princeton Snatches Gadowsky

After an eight-week search, Princeton named Guy Gadowsky its new head coach today. The announcement leaves a hole at Alaska-Fairbanks, where Gadowsky has been the head coach for five years.

Gadowsky will be formally introduced at a news conference, Friday at 11 a.m. at Princeton.

“We are delighted to appoint Guy as our new men’s hockey coach,” said Princeton athletic director Gary Walters in a statement. “Guy is one of the top young coaches in college hockey today and is committed to building a strong program here at Princeton. We look forward to a bright future for Princeton hockey.”

Gadowsky was 68-89-22 in five years with the Nanooks. After taking on a rebuilding project, his team won a school record 22 games in 2001-02, just missing the NCAA tournament. The last two seasons, Fairbanks has hosted a first-round CCHA tournament series, something it had never done before Gadowsky’s arrival.

“Coming to Princeton is a great opportunity,” said Gadowsky in a statement. “I believe so highly in college athletics and college hockey, and the opportunity to work in these areas at a great academic institution like Princeton is very exciting.”

In making the announcement, Princeton noted Gadowsky’s academic achievements, saying his teams set program records for grade point average.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to build a successful Division I hockey program at a top academic institution like Princeton,” says Gadowsky. “I will work unceasingly to elevate the program in the classroom, on the ice, and in the community. To be able to pursue this goal at a place as storied as Princeton is very exciting.”

The announcement comes as a major curveball to those expecting a hire with more direct connections to Princeton, the Ivy League and/or the ECAC. USCHO had learned of five interviewees in the last two weeks, all from Eastern schools.

Gadowsky, who played at Colorado College from 1986-89, was CCHA Coach of the Year in 2002. Before joining Fairbanks, Gadowsky served as head coach for the Fresno Falcons of the West Coast Hockey League for three seasons, compiling a .566 winning percentage. He earned the WCHL’s Coach of the Year award in 1997 after the Falcons posted a 38-20-6 record in his first season.

Gadowsky also has coaching experience in Roller Hockey International, serving as the head coach of the Oklahoma Coyotes in 1996 and the San Jose Rhinos from 1997 to 1999. He was the RHI Coach of the Year in 1997 after the Rhinos went 15-7 and won the Western Conference title and a berth in the finals. He also spent a season as an assistant coach with the Richmond Renegades of the East Coast Hockey League.

The Edmonton, Alberta, native began coaching following a seven-year playing career. He was a captain at CC, and three-time WCHA All-Academic team member. Upon graduation, Gadowsky played minor league hockey in Richmond (Va.), San Diego and Prince Edward Island. In 1995 he joined Fresno and enjoyed the best season of his pro career, scoring 52 goals and adding 29 assists for 81 points in 51 games. That season he was a first-team all-star and the won the WCHL’s Most Valuable Player Award. He also served as a player/coach that season before taking over head coaching responsibilities the following season. He also played professionally in Sweden, Holland and Austria.