Charlie Burggraf has stepped down as head coach of the Professional Women’s Hockey League’s franchise in Minnesota just one week before the start of its inaugural season.

Former NHL defenseman Ken Klee was named the new head coach. Klee previously coached the U.S. Women’s National Team to gold medals at the 2015 and 2016 IIHF Women’s World Championships, as well as a pair of Four Nations Cup titles.

“We thank Charlie Burggraf for all he did for our franchise, and we wish him only the best in the future,” general manager Natalie Darwitz said. “Ken Klee brings a proven record of success to our coaching staff, and we are extremely pleased — for our players, our fans and our organization — that he has joined us.”

Burggraf, 66, accepted the job in September and has deep roots in Minnesota hockey. He played youth hockey in Roseau and coached men’s and women’s hockey at Division III Bethel in St. Paul. He was an assistant coach for two seasons at the University of Minnesota women’s program when Darwitz was playing for the Gophers.

“My family and I have decided that stepping away from the head-coaching position at Team Minnesota is the right move for us at this time,” Burggraf said in a statement. “I wish both the PWHL, and especially Team Minnesota, great success.”

Klee, 52, played 934 games over 14 NHL seasons as a defenseman. He previously coached Minnesota players Kendall Coyne and Lee Stecklein on the women’s national team. Klee was an assistant coach for the AHL Syracuse Crunch from 2017-19.

The PWHL begins its first season next week with six inaugural franchises. The league features women’s national team players from the U.S. and Canada, as well as former players from the now-defunct Premier Hockey Federation.

Minnesota opens its inaugural season on Jan. 3 in Boston.



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