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Dziedzic to return to St. Paul Academy next season

By Loren Nelson, Editor, 03/16/10, 2:15PM CDT


Former Mr. Hockey and Gophers star sheds interim tag for full-season role

Joe Dziedzic, a former Mr. Hockey who played 130 games in the NHL, will be the head coach at St. Paul Academy next season, according to SPA athletic director Dave Montgomery.

Dziedzic assumed the head coaching position at St. Paul Academy on Jan. 8 on an interim basis after the resignation of Craig Norwich. The Spartans, who were 3-8-0 when Dziedzic took over, finished the regular season with a 8-17-0 record. They lost 2-1 to Chisago Lakes in the opening round of the Section 4A playoffs.

"He just stepped into a pretty sensitive situation and dealt very well with the boys and got them to play at a very comfortable level and play for each other from a team perspective," Montgomery said about Dziedzic's performance after taking over the program in midseason, a rarity at the high school level where coaching changes typically occur at the end of the season.

Dziedzic, who played at Minneapolis Edison and was named the state's top player in 1990, also is a former University of Minnesota standout. He played all but two games of his NHL career with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Dziedzic has been coaching in the Upper Midwest High School Elite League for the past five seasons and also runs Joe Dziedzic Hockey, a skills development program. Some of Dziedzic's clinics are held at Drake Arena in St. Paul, the Spartans' home rink.

Loren Nelson, MN Hockey Hub managing editor, can be reached at 612-379-1030 ext. 126 or loren.nelson@tstmedia.com.