With Valor Chris­tian hockey coach Ge­orge Gwozdecky Draw­ing up a game plan for team’s suc­cess is vi­tal

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Kyle New­man

Valor Chris­tian hockey is off to a promis­ing start this CHSAA hockey sea­son, as the Ea­gles cruised to a 6-0 record into the break that in­cluded a sig­na­ture 5-1 win over Cherry Creek on Dec. 3 and an of­fense that av­er­aged an eye-pop­ping 5.67 goals per game. The Den­ver Post caught up with Ea­gles coach Ge­orge Gwozdecky to dis­cuss the rapid as­cen­sion of the sec­ond-year pro­gram, keys for his team in the new year and more. Q: Con­sid­er­ing your 6-0 start, how are you feel­ing about the pro­gres­sion of your team through the first slate of games? A: We had a change from last year with new play­ers — new play­ers in fresh­men who came into the school, a cou­ple kids who trans­ferred, but also very good play­ers who were al­ready en­rolled at Valor who are ju­niors and se­niors who de­cided to stop play­ing for their AAA travel team, and play for their high school. As a re­sult, I think we’ve be­come a lot more com­pet­i­tive, a lot more ex­pe­ri­enced, and our skill level has im­proved too. I think we’re prob­a­bly com­pet­ing at a higher level than a lot of peo­ple thought we would be able to, in­clud­ing yours truly. Q: Talk about your play­ers who have de­cided to play for Valor year­round in­stead of those club teams — is that the ul­ti­mate key to why your pro­gram has had so much suc­cess so quickly? A: Cer­tainly we’re try­ing be able to show that high school hockey gives a good hockey player an op­tion to pur­sue his ca­reer af­ter his high school days are done. I would say that 15 years ago, that op­por­tu­nity at the high school level re­ally didn’t ex­ist. If you were a good hockey player in Colorado, and you wanted to pur­sue hockey af­ter high school, you had to play AAA, travel hockey. Or­ga­ni­za­tions like the Thun­der­birds, the Roughrid­ers and the Rampage gave young tal­ented kids their only op­por­tu­nity. But re­ally over the last eight years or so, high school hockey in the state of Colorado has im­proved to the point right now where tal­ented play­ers re­al­ize there’s more than one way to pur­sue that post-high school ca­reer.

Andy Cross, The Den­ver Post

Valor Chris­tian hockey coach Ge­orge Gwozdecky, pic­tured at prac­tice last year, is “re­ally en­joy­ing” the ad­di­tional du­ties high school brings.

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