With Valor Christian hockey coach George Gwozdecky Drawing up a game plan for team’s success is vital
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.
Valor Christian hockey coach George Gwozdecky, pictured at practice last year, is “really enjoying” the additional duties high school brings.