Aug. 11, 2011
Duluth, Ga. – Former Notre Dame hockey player John Wroblewski `03 has been named the head coach of the Gwinnett Gladiators of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL). Gladiator’s team president Steve Chapman made the announcement on Wednesday, August 10. Wroblewski replaces Jeff Pyle, who was named the head coach of the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League on July 13.
The native of Neenah, Wis., takes over in Gwinnett (one of the five counties surrounding the Atlanta, Ga. metro area) after spending the 2010-11 season as an assistant coach with Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL. With Wheeling, the 30-year old Wroblewski helped the Nailers to their best postseason finish since 1998 as they advanced to the Eastern Conference finals.
In making the announcement, Chapman said, “It is an exciting day for the Gladiators to announce our new head coach. We were looking for the right fit for what we do – play exciting hockey, develop talent and young men and be an asset in our community. John Wroblewski fit exactly what we were looking for in a coach. He has the credentials and the background in developing hockey players. He has the character and the commitment that fit our philosophy and he has the passion to get it done. I’m looking forward to working with John in accomplishing our goals.”
Chapman added, “John was honestly one of the most prepared individuals that I have ever interviewed for a job of any kind. His background with the National Team and as an assistant in our league provided the right mix of knowledge in terms of recruiting and development. His X’s and O’s and the style of game that he wants to implement – up-tempo and aggressive – were detailed and in line with our goals. And his passion and energy fit exactly what we were looking for in a coach. His age will not be an issue. Heck, there are NHL head coaches that are only a few years older than John. We’re very happy to give him his first opportunity to take the helm in pro hockey.”
A four-time monogram winner with the Irish from 1999-03, Wroblewski was a team captain during his junior and senior years and was named the team’s Monogram Club most valuable player following the 2002-03 campaign. He finished that season second in scoring with career highs in goals (17), assists (16) and points (33) as Notre Dame was 17-16-6 on the year and advanced to the CCHA Super Six. For his Irish career, Wroblewski played in 144 games, scoring 29 goals with 35 assists for 64 points.
From Notre Dame, the hard-working right wing went on to play four seasons in the ECHL with the Fresno Falcons from 2003-07, serving as the team captain in the final two years (2005-07). He attended NHL training camp with the Vancouver Canucks in 2003 and AHL training camps with the Cleveland Barons (2003) and the Worcester Sharks (2006). In his four-year professional career, Wroblewski earned 125 points (65 goals, 60 assists) in 273 career ECHL games.
A product of USA Hockey’s National Team Developmental Program where he played on the Under-17 and Under-18 teams (`97-’99) before attending Notre Dame, Wroblewski returned to his roots following his pro career as an assistant coach with the Under-18 team from 2007-10, helping the national team to a gold medals in 2009 and 2010 at the Under-18 World Junior Championships. From there he moved back to the pro ranks, joining Stan Drulia’s staff in Wheeling for the 2010-11 season.