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Natalie Darwitz, the general manager who built Minnesota's team into the inaugural champions of the PWHL, is out as the team's GM, the Star Tribune has confirmed.

According to league sources, Darwitz's departure comes after she clashed with coach Ken Klee, who has the support of several of the team's veterans, including captain Kendall Coyne Schofield. A source said Klee will be acting GM and will make the team's picks at the PWHL draft Monday at Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul.

Neither Darwitz nor the league has made a statement regarding her departure, which comes nine days after PWHL Minnesota won the league's first Walter Cup championship.

The PWHL, which just completed its first season, owns each of the six teams in the league and employs its staff and players. Darwitz, a three-time Olympic medalist and member of both the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame and the International Ice Hockey Hall of Fame, built the Minnesota team from scratch and saw it win a pair of five-game playoff series, culminating with a 3-0 triumph over Boston in Game 5 of the championship series on May 29.

The PWHL hired Klee as Minnesota's head coach in December after Charlie Burggraf, who was hired by Darwitz, left the team. An industry source said Klee also interviewed for the Minnesota general manager job that went to Darwitz.

Klee was coach of the U.S. women's national team from 2014-2017. He has longstanding ties to several players from those teams who are now on the PWHL Minnesota roster, including Coyne Schofield, Lee Stecklein and Nicole Hensley.

Reached for comment Friday, Klee said he is "currently not able to discuss anything about the current situation."

The break-up is a stunner in Minnesota hockey, where Darwitz, 40, has been a popular figure from her days as a youngster and high school star in Eagan. As a player, she won two NCAA titles with the Gophers, along with three world championships and the three Olympic medals.

Her connections and status in the state's hockey community helped make PWHL Minnesota a success in its inaugural season. Darwitz was instrumental in securing Xcel Energy Center for games and Tria Rink as the team's practice facility. Minnesota was the only PWHL team to play regularly in an NHL rink, and its regular-season average attendance of 7,138 was second to Ottawa's 7,496.

Jayna Hefford, the PWHL's senior vice president of hockey operations, credited Darwitz's local hockey network in an interview last winter.

"If she's not leading that team, maybe that doesn't happen," Hefford said last season of the Xcel and Tria deals. "Natalie has great connections and relationships in that market. People there have such appreciation for who she is and what she means to Minnesota hockey. That counts for a lot."

Darwitz also swung deals with Tria Orthopedic for medical care and was raising money for the team to build dedicated space at Tria Rink. She was hands-on as a GM in a startup league, doing everything from unloading equipment to sweeping floors to signing and trading players.

After her playing career, Darwitz transitioned to coaching, becoming an assistant with the Gophers in 2008, then leading the Lakeville South High School girls team. From 2015-21, she coached Hamline, leading the Pipers to a pair of NCAA Division III women's Frozen Four appearances.

Darwitz returned to Minnesota in 2021 as the top assistant under coach Brad Frost, a position she held through the 2022-23 season. Darwitz accepted the job to be Hill-Murray's girls head coach but then took the PWHL Minnesota job.

With PWHL Minnesota, Darwitz drafted former Gophers star Taylor Heise first overall last fall, and Heise went on to be the MVP of the inaugural playoff.

Klee, 53, played in more than 900 NHL games as a defenseman from 1994-2009 before moving into coaching. He previously coached U.S. women's teams in international competitions at various levels before accepting the PWHL Minnesota job.

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Star Tribune staff writer Randy Johnson contributed to this report.