The Tampa Bay Lightning have announced that assistant coach George Gwozdecky is leaving the club, with an intent to pursue other opportunities elsewhere.
Gwozdecky spent nineteen years as the head coach at the University of Denver following a five year stint as the head coach at the University of Miami Ohio and five years behind the bench as an assistant at Michigan State University. A two year skater as a winger for the University of Wisconsin in the mid-1970’s, Gwozdecky has announced that he and his family are going to take some time to consider his next step.
Two years behind the bench with Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper is enough of a shining spot on any resume — but combined with over twenty years as an NCAA head coach, it’s hard to imagine that Gwozdecky doesn’t have a number of landing spots that would be happy to take him.
Why, then, would he walk away from Tampa Bay without another position lined up?
On one hand, it could be a sign that the Thunder Bay, Ontario native misses the NCAA. With a number of collegiate coaches being looked at for pro jobs now, it’s possible that Gwozdecky — who coached Edmonton Oilers defenseman Joey LaLeggia and Pittsburgh Penguins forward Beau Bennett, not to mention a handful of well-known NHLers (from Tyler Bozak and Paul Stastny back to netminder Paul Essensa) — wants to go back to coaching college.
Of course, there’s always the chance that he wants to be free in the instance that a club makes a firing either mid-season or early in the post-season. With the compensatory draft picks that clubs have been taking, he could want to be as available as possible for a job opening when one comes up.