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George Gwozdecky to leave Lightning to pursue other opportunities

by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning

TAMP BAY - Assistant Coach George Gwozdecky is leaving the Tampa Bay Lightning to pursue other opportunities, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced today. Gwozdecky has been with the Lightning on head coach Jon Cooper's staff for two seasons, most recently helping the franchise to the 2015 Eastern Conference Championship and a berth in the Stanley Cup Final.

"Jon Cooper and I, along with the entire Lightning organization, would like to thank George and his family for giving us the past two years," said Yzerman upon making the announcement. "He helped turn a young, unproven team into the Eastern Conference Champions and we appreciate his professionalism and dedication."

Gwozdecky joined the Lightning on August 9, 2013 after serving as the head coach at the University of Denver for 19 seasons. At Denver, Gwozdecky won back-to-back national championships (2004, 2005) and was named National Coach of the Year twice (1993, 2005). He also served as head coach at Miami (OH) University for five seasons and his 593 collegiate wins as a head coach rank 11th all-time in the NCAA.

"I have fulfilled my obligation with the Tampa Bay Lightning and I am going to take some time away to consider my next career step," said Gwozdecky. "I would like to thank owner Jeff Vinik, GM Steve Yzerman, coach Jon Cooper and the entire Lightning staff for two very memorable years."

In two seasons with Gwozdecky as an assistant, the Lightning won 96 of 164 regular season games, making back-to-back playoff appearances. The team begins the 2015 offseason after losing the Stanley Cup Final in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks. En route to the Stanley Cup Final, the Lightning defeated the Detroit Red Wings, the Montreal Canadiens and the New York Rangers.

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