Warren Strelow completed his eighth season with the San Jose Sharks, his fifth as goaltending coach after serving as goaltender consultant the previous three campaigns. Strelow was promoted to his current position on July 6, 2000. Although a kidney transplant operation forced Strelow to spend the 2003-04 season recovering at his Minnesota home, he still remains active in his role.
Working in tandem with Sharks Vice President and Assistant General Manager Wayne Thomas, the Sharks allowed a franchise record for fewest goals allowed (183, T-4th, NHL). In addition, Evgeni Nabokov eclipsed his team single-season record with nine shutouts and, along with Vesa Toskala, set a new franchise record with 11 team shutouts.
Known throughout the hockey world for his expertise and results in training young goaltenders, Strelow's main responsibilities with the organization include working on techniques, reinforcing strengths and improving weaknesses of all goaltenders on the Sharks reserve list. A critical, yet silent, element of the Sharks success the last several seasons, Strelow's positive influence on the team's netminders is evidenced by the recent career seasons and marked progress posted by several of the team's top goaltenders.
During the season, Strelow splits his time working with goaltenders in San Jose and with the Sharks top development affiliate, the Cleveland Barons of the American Hockey League. In addition, Strelow mentors and tutors Sharks goaltenders in San Jose's development system. Under Strelow's tutelage in 2000-01, four goaltenders in the Sharks system were named to their respective league's All-Star Games (Nabokov-NHL, Miikka Kiprusoff-AHL, Terry Friesen-WCHL and Johan Hedberg-IHL).
In January 2001, USA Hockey named Strelow as goaltending coach for the 2002 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team at the Olympic Winter Games, where his team captured a silver medal. Strelow previously coached the United States goaltenders during the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid, where the squad, coached by the late Herb Brooks, pulled off the "Miracle On Ice" victory against the former Soviet Union and later won the gold medal against Finland. Jim Craig, who backstopped Team USA to those impressive victories, credited Strelow as one of the main reasons for his success.
Strelow spent 10 seasons in the NHL as a full-time goaltending coach. Working with the New Jersey Devils from 1990-93 and the Washington Capitals from 1983-89, Strelow tutored an impressive list of netminders: Sean Burke, Al Jensen, Pat Riggin, Pete Peeters, Clint Malarchuk, Bob Mason, Craig Billington, ex-Sharks goalie Chris Terreri, Corey Schwab and New Jersey's 2003 Vezina Trophy-winner Martin Brodeur, one of his three All-Star proteges.
During a six-year period as an NHL coach, Strelow's goalies with the Capitals posted the lowest combined goals-against average in the League, including winning one Jennings Trophy, emblematic of the goaltending tandem with the lowest goals-against average in a season. Two of his goaltenders were named to the NHL All-Star Team and the Caps won the 1988-89 Patrick Division Championship. Strelow also spent two seasons as a scout for the Capitals.
Before being hired by Washington, Strelow spent eight seasons as a scout; four with Calgary of the WHA and four with the NHL's Central Scouting Department.
Strelow served as the goaltender coach for the University of Minnesota from 1974-83. During Strelow's eight seasons at Minnesota, the Golden Gophers won three NCAA Division I hockey championships and twice finished runner-up. His coaching career began at Mahtomedi High School in Mahtomedi, Minn. as head coach of the school's varsity hockey team, in addition to coaching the school's varsity baseball team.
For the past 30 years, players of all ages have attended the Strelow Goalie School in Minnesota during the summer. These camps work on developing all phases of the game.
Before entering a career in professional hockey, Strelow taught English and social studies at Mahtomedi High School in Minnesota. In 1996, he was inducted into the Minnesota High School Hockey Coaches Hall of Fame.