Former Caps' goaltending coach Warren Strelow has passed away at the age of 73
. Strelow had most recently been the Sharks' goalie coach, and his achievements in the sport of hockey were incredibly impressive. Consider (directly quoted from TSN.ca):
- Strelow was a long-time friend of the late Herb Brooks, and served as the goaltending coach for the 1980 United States Olympic Hockey team that won the gold medal in the Lake Placid Olympics. In 2004, Strelow was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame, along with the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team.
- He was hired by the Washington Capitals as the first full-time goalie coach in the NHL, where he coached from 1983-1989. During a five-year period as an NHL coach, Strelow's goaltenders with the Capitals posted the lowest composite goals-against average in the League, including winning one Jennings Trophy, emblematic of the goaltending tandem with the lowest goals-against average in a season. They also finished second in the League three times. Two of his goaltenders (Al Jensen and Pat Riggin) were named to the NHL All-Star Team and the Capitals won the 1988-89 Patrick Division Championship.
- Hired by San Jose in 1997, Strelow helped the Sharks organization become widely recognized as one of the best consistent developers of goaltending talent in the NHL. Under Strelow's tutelage in 2000-01, four goaltenders in the Sharks system were named to their respective league's All-Star Teams - Evgeni Nabokov-NHL, Miikka Kiprusoff-AHL, Terry Friesen-WCHL and Johan Hedberg-IHL.
- Nabokov also won the Calder Trophy as the NHL's Rookie of the Year in 2001. In addition, Strelow's other former pupils include 2003-2004 Vezina Trophy winner Martin Brodeur and ex- Sharks goaltender 2006 Vezina Trophy winner Kiprusoff (Calgary Flames), who made a point to acknowledge Strelow in his acceptance of the award last June.
- Strelow served as the goaltender coach at the University of Minnesota from 1974-83. During Strelow's eight seasons at Minnesota, the Golden Gophers won three NCAA Division I National Championships and twice finished runner-up.
Strelow was a giant in the game in a mostly behind-the-scenes way who may now, in death, get some more of the recognition he richly deserves. Rest in peace, Coach.