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—Photo courtesy of Rich Clarkson and Associates Gwozdecky George

Star on the Sidelines

Former NHL coach George Gwozdecky begins his high school coaching career this month. He’s not the only pro who’s coached preps, though.

After posting just five wins in the past two seasons, Valor Christian’s hockey program seemed destined for the high school scrap heap—an also-ran, ironically, at a school known for its athletic prowess. That changes now.

The Eagles begin the season this month with rare excitement: Over the summer, Valor hired George Gwozdecky, the former University of Denver head coach famous for leading the Pioneers to two collegiate national titles. And not only that: For the past two seasons, “Gwoz”—as he’s known in the hockey world—spent his time as an assistant coach for the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, a team that reached the Stanley Cup Final last season.

“I can tell you, this is not a one-and-done thing,” Gwozdecky told Valor hockey parents in August. “I am here to build a program.” That’s heady stuff for a private high school that has powerhouse football—five consecutive state championships—and a litany of other perennial title-contending sports programs. But Gwoz isn’t the first pro to take his coaching acumen to the preps. Here’s how he and other Colorado coaches have fared.

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