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Former Brodeur tutor dead.


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Veteran goaltending coach dead at 73

Strelow worked with 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team

Posted: Wednesday April 11, 2007 3:15PM; Updated: Wednesday April 11, 2007 3:16PM



SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Warren Strelow, a pioneering goaltending coach and assistant for the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, died Wednesday. He was 73.


Strelow, who mentored a string of successful goalies for the San Jose Sharks during the last 10 years, died in Worcester, Mass., home of the Sharks' top minor-league affiliate, the NHL club said. Strelow, a diabetic who had a stroke on Feb. 28, had been in poor health for several years after undergoing a kidney transplant.


"Warren was truly a one-of-a-kind individual who overcame many obstacles in recent years and was an inspiration to our entire organization," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said. "His passion for the game of hockey will always live in our hearts, and we will carry on with Warren's lifelong dream of winning the Stanley Cup. He will always be with us."


The highlight of Strelow's lengthy career was his work with the "Miracle on Ice" U.S. Olympic team in 1980, when he aided coach Herb Brooks, his former boss at the University of Minnesota. Backstopped by goalie Jim Craig, the team stunned the sport and inspired a nation by beating the Soviet Union and winning the gold medal in Lake Placid, N.Y.


Strelow also worked with the 2002 U.S. team, which won silver medals. In 2004, he was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.


Strelow became the NHL's first full-time goaltending coach when the Washington Capitals hired him for the job in 1983, following his years at the University of Minnesota and various Minnesota high schools. After seven successful seasons with Washington, Strelow spent three years with the New Jersey Devils, working closely with a young Martin Brodeur.


During his decade with San Jose, Strelow shaped the style and technique of current Sharks goalies Evgeni Nabokov and Vesa Toskala, who both spoke on the phone almost daily with the coach even when his illnesses kept him home in Minnesota. He spent time in San Jose this season, riding a motorized scooter around the locker room to visit his players.


"We will miss him, but he will always be in my heart," Nabokov said before the Sharks' first playoff game against Nashville on Wednesday night. "He was just a great guy. ... The one thing he always wanted was a Stanley Cup, so we've got to give it to him."

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