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Jun 8, 2024 2:30 pm

League parts ways with Minnesota GM Natalie Darwitz

PWHL Minnesota

The Professional Women’s Hockey League announced Saturday that it has parted ways with PWHL Minnesota general manager Natalie Darwitz.

Jayna Hefford, the PWHL senior vice president of hockey operations, said in a Zoom interview that the decision involved more than one person after a review of team operations. Multiple media outlets reported Darwitz had clashed with coach Ken Klee, with the latter reportedly gaining the support of the team’s veterans — including star captain Kendall Coyne Schofield.

Klee was hired by the PWHL as the team’s coach in December after Charlie Burggraf left the club, citing family reasons. Burggraf had been hired by Darwitz.

The Star Tribune in Minneapolis reported Klee had interviewed for the PWHL Minnesota general manager position that went to Darwitz.

The league makes the hiring decisions as it owns all six teams.

Per The Athletic, Darwitz was told she wouldn’t be back next season and given a choice of different jobs in the league. She reportedly also was given the option of announcing her voluntary departure in a statement.

“We appreciate all that Natalie has done for PWHL Minnesota in the league’s inaugural season and her contributions to the team’s championship success. We wish her the best moving forward,” Hefford said.

The league did not disclose a timeline for naming a replacement for Darwitz. The draft will be held on Monday and the debut PWHL Awards ceremony is set to be held this week in the Twin Cities.

Minnesota won the first Walter Cup in the league’s inaugural season on May 29, defeating Boston in five games.

Darwitz, 40, is a Minnesota hockey icon and was hired as the GM last September by the league, which owns all six teams. As with the other league general managers, she was responsible for building the team from scratch.

Darwitz, who grew up in the Minneapolis suburb of Eagan, was a member of two NCAA championship teams at Minnesota and won three Olympic medals and three world championships for the United States.

She was a member of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame’s 2018 class and was enshrined in the IIHF Hall of Fame last month.

–Field Level Media

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