It wasn't an April Fools joke. George Gwozdecky was fired by the University of Denver on Monday, ending a 19-year run there. That run included two national championships (2004, 2005) and a run of 12 straight 20-win seasons that included this past year — the Pioneers were the only team in the country on that long of a streak.
The Pioneers' season ended on Friday night when they were bounced out of the first round of the NCAA tournament. It was the fifth time in six years they lost their first-round matchup. Denver also missed out on the WCHA Final Five this season, getting beat by rival Colorado College in three games during the tournament's first round.
Gwozdecky just finished the 11th year of a 12-year contract that he signed with Denver in 2001, according to the Denver Post, and the inability to come to terms on a new extension might have factored into the coach's release, the story said.
Ironically, Gwozdecky's ouster means he won't be leading Denver into the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference next season. He appeared to be one of the driving forces behind the formation of the league.
With that news, there are two coaching openings in what was this past year's WCHA now — Denver and Alaska Anchorage. It will be interesting to see how those posts get filled as well as to see where Gwozdecky eventually lands.