The Tampa Bay Lightning announced Friday they have named George Gwozdecky as an assistant coach.
The longtime coach at the University of Denver is the latest addition to a coaching staff that has been taking shape since the team named Jon Cooper its coach on March 25.
"I am excited to be joining the Tampa Bay Lightning coaching staff and am really looking forward to working with outstanding coaches like Jon, Steve and [Rick]," Gwozdecky said in a statement. "The opportunity to coach in an organization with such highly respected ownership and excellent front-office leadership, as well as a talented mix of veteran and young players in a great community like Tampa Bay, is the chance of a lifetime."
Gwozdecky, 60, spent 19 seasons as coach at the University of Denver, where he had a 443-267-64 record and led the Pioneers to back-to-back national championships in 2004 and 2005. Gwozdecky's Pioneers became the only team in NCAA hockey history to post 12 consecutive 20-win seasons.
"The way he can handle these younger guys will be good," defenseman Matt Carle told the Lightning website. "It's going to be exciting. I'm looking forward to playing for him again."
Carle played three seasons in Denver under Gwozdecky, winning the Hobey Baker Memorial Award in 2006 as college hockey's top Division I player.
"The biggest thing for him is going to be trying to get comfortable in coaching the Marty St. Louises and the Steven Stamkoses of the team," Carle said. "Being in an assistant coaching role though, will allow him to be a little looser with these guys and have a little bit more fun."
Gwozdecky coached at Miami University for five seasons following five seasons as an assistant at Michigan State University. The Thunder Bay native is a member of the Wisconsin Hockey Hall of Fame and the only person to win NCAA titles as a player (University of Wisconsin, 1977), an assistant coach (Michigan State, 1986) and a coach.
"He brings a wealth of experience to the bench and we feel he will be a valuable addition to the organization," Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said.