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It's a decade too late for George Gwozdecky, but Denver's locker room is finally on the other side at The Ralph

Former Denver coach George Gwozdecky walks across the ice during a game against UND in 2009. Herald File Photo.

GRAND FORKS — Perhaps, George Gwozdecky was just ahead of his time.

That can now be the explanation for his famed incident in Ralph Engelstad Arena on Jan. 24, 2009.

On that day, Gwozdecky became angered because of a non-call on University of North Dakota forward Brett Hextall and jumped on the dasher boards, flailing his arms at Western Collegiate Hockey Association referee Todd Anderson. Gwozdecky was ejected for it.

Upon learning his fate, Gwozdecky jumped over the boards and walked all the way across the Ralph Engelstad Arena ice to chat with the officials as boos rained down from the sold-out crowd.

Perplexed media members asked Gwozdecky about the incident after the game.

Gwozdecky told them he was going to his team's locker room. When he was reminded that DU's locker room was behind the bench, Gwozdecky said he was taking the long way.

It's just over a decade too late for Gwozdecky, but when his old team travels to Ralph Engelstad Arena this weekend for a two-game series at 7:37 p.m. Friday (CBS Sports Network) and 7:07 p.m. Saturday (Midco Sports Network), Denver's locker room will, indeed, be on the opposite side of the ice.

During the offseason, UND changed the location of the opponent's locker room in Ralph Engelstad Arena for logistical reasons. It allowed athletic trainer Mark Poolman to spread out his area after UND's locker room renovation.

The No. 1-ranked Fighting Hawks are 14-1 at home since making the change.

Gwozdecky, who served as an assistant for the Tampa Bay Lightning for two years, is now a prep coach at Valor Christian in suburban Denver.

Last year, Gwozdecky sat down with the Grand Forks Herald to talk about his memories of coaching DU, his thoughts on the UND rivalry, his relationship with Dave Hakstol and, of course, The Walk.

Denver's new coach is David Carle, who got his coaching start underneath Gwozdecky.

Because of the locker room location change, Carle will be walking across the ice a few times this weekend. It just won't be quite as dramatic or memorable.

Brad Elliott Schlossman

Schlossman is in his 14th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2016 and 2018, he was named the top beat writer in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He also was the NCHC's inaugural Media Excellence Award winner in 2018. Schlossman has voted in the national college hockey poll since 2007 and has served as a member of the Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier Award committees.

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