Shortly after the Wranglers were eliminated from the ECHL playoffs this year by the Alaska Aces, Las Vegas coach Glen Gulutzan said it was "certainly the most challenging season I've had" in six years at the helm of the franchise.
But after guiding the Wranglers to their second straight appearance in the National Conference finals, the fiery Gulutzan is ready to take on a new challenge -- as head coach of a team in the American Hockey League.
The Wranglers are expected to announce at noon today the departure of the 37-year-old Gulutzan, a source close to the team confirmed.
While it hasn't been announced which team has hired Gulutzan, only three AHL clubs -- the Iowa Chops, Lake Erie Monsters and expansion Texas Stars -- have head coaching vacancies.
The only coach in the six-year history of the Las Vegas franchise, Gulutzan guided the Wranglers to a league-record three straight 100-point seasons, from 2005 to 2008, and a 254-124-55 (.650) mark overall.
He led Las Vegas to the playoffs in five of his six years and was named the ECHL Coach of the Year in 2005-06, when the Wranglers went 53-13-6 and notched 112 points, the fifth-highest total in league history.
Gulutzan was selected to coach in the ECHL All-Star Game three times, tying a league record. In 2006-07, he led Las Vegas to the Brabham Cup, awarded to the league's regular-season champion. The Wranglers tied a professional hockey record that season with 18 consecutive victories.
Gulutzan guided Las Vegas to its first-ever appearance in the Kelly Cup Finals in the 2007-08 season, when it lost to Cincinnati in six games.
Gulutzan turned in perhaps his finest performance this past season, when he led Las Vegas to the conference finals after it barely broke .500 (34-31-8) in a tumultuous regular season.