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Further fluctuation at Minnesota in the PWHL, three coaches fired – InForum

Further fluctuation at Minnesota in the PWHL, three coaches fired – InForum

ST. PAUL – PWHL Minnesota’s effort to defend the Walter Cup in 2025 will be led by entirely different characters behind the scenes, as three more key figures from their title run from last season were released on Monday, July 9.

The Rink Live confirmed that assistant coach Jake Bobrowski, goaltending coach Brennan Poderzay and technical advisor Johnny Sibel were all released from their positions with the team on Monday.

According to a source who contacted The Rink Live, the fired coaching trio were among a group of PWHL Minnesota employees who voiced their support for now-fired general manager Natalie Darwitz, in what is increasingly looking like a power struggle between her and head coach Ken Klee. In addition to his role as the team’s coach, Klee has also served as assistant general manager since Darwitz’s firing.

PWHL officials have admitted that they knew about the ongoing internal disputes between Darwitz and Klee prior to the PWHL playoffs. In April, league officials met with several members of team staff and players to hear their thoughts on the disagreement.

“I told them that Ken is not receptive to any suggestions and that he is extremely arrogant,” a former PWHL Minnesota employee told The Rink Live on condition of anonymity. “Have you ever heard a coach tell people not to come on the ice for practice because they are taking time away from the important girls who are playing? Why do you think (players) are backing out?”

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Goaltending coach Brennan Poderzay (second from right) spoke with Rochester brothers Elliott and Henry Sikkink and several other goalies before a morning practice at Richfield Ice Arena on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023 in Richfield, Minnesota.

Jess Myers / The Ice Rink Live

PWHL Minnesota forwards Sophia Kunin and Brittyn Fleming announced their retirements following the 2024 season, in which Minnesota defeated PWHL Boston in five games to claim its first league title. Darwitz, who assembled the team and whose credits include the Xcel Energy Center as its home stadium and TRIA Rink as its training facility, was fired just days after the team’s championship celebration, which was attended by thousands of fans.

According to another source who was formerly part of the Minnesota PWHL organization, the recent layoffs appear to be Klee’s intention to solidify his control over the team.

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PWHL Minnesota coach Ken Klee signed autographs following the team’s Walter Cup title celebration on Friday, May 31, 2024, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Jess Myers / The Ice Rink Live

“Ken now has the keys to the Ferrari,” they said.

Bobrowski worked closely with Darwitz on the coaching staffs of the Hamline University women’s hockey team and the Minnesota Gophers before working as an assistant coach for PWHL Minnesota last season. Poderzay has worked with Minnesota State Mankato and is currently the goalie coach for the Gophers men’s hockey team, which he did last season in addition to his work with the professional women’s team.

The coaching staff changes have not yet been announced by PWHL Minnesota or the league office. Photos of Bobrowski and Poderzay were still available on the team’s official website Tuesday morning.

Jess Myers

Jess Myers covers college hockey, outdoor and general sports topics, and travel for The Rink Live and the Forum Communications family of publications. He joined FCC in 2018 after three decades of covering sports as a freelance contributor for various publications while working full-time in politics and media relations. A native of Warroad, Minnesota (the real Hockeytown USA), Myers holds a degree in journalism/communications from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He lives in the Twin Cities. Contact Jess by email at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @JessRMyers. English speaking.