Gwozdecky released as Denver head coach after 19 seasons

First, it was Jack Parker leaving Boston University.

Then Dave Shyiak was fired from Alaska-Anchorage.

On Monday, Denver announced head coach George Gwozdecky was released from the position he has held for 19 seasons.

“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 Denver vice chancellor for athletics and recreation Peg Bradley-Doppes in a statement. “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.”

Gwozdecky, 59, was to complete a 12-year contract after next season and told the Denver Post before the season was over that he thought an extension was on the way. Instead, according to two Post sources, Gwozdecky was fired and the school will pay the remaining year on his contract.

A national search for Gwozdecky’s replacement will commence immediately.

The Pioneers captured two NCAA titles, three WCHA regular-season titles and four WCHA playoff championships during Gwozdecky’s tenure, going 443-267-64 in that span.

“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 added. “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.