A month after being fired by the Florida Panthers, Kevin Dineen has a new job. No, it's not in the NHL. It's with the Canadian Olympic Women's Hockey Team, Hockey Canada announced today.
The women's team lost head coach Dan Church last week after he abruptly resigned from his position, citing a lack of faith in him shown by Hockey Canada. Canada's women have won the last three gold medals at the Olympic Winter Games.
Dineen, who was behind the Panthers' bench for parts of three seasons was let go after 16 games this year. He also was the head coach of the American Hockey League's Portland Pirates for six seasons. Dineen played more than 1,100 NHL games with 760 points over that span.
From Hockey Canada:
“We're very excited that Kevin will join the coaching staff of Canada's National Women's Team and bring his unique perspective to the dressing room,” said Scott Smith, Hockey Canada's chief operating officer. “Kevin has had success in both the AHL and NHL, and we're looking forward to him being a part of the staff for the final push towards Sochi.”
“This is a critical time for Canada's National Women's Team with the start of the Olympics less than two months away, and we feel Kevin is a terrific fit with our staff as we get ready for Sochi,” said Melody Davidson, general manager of female national teams with Hockey Canada. “His experience, both on the ice and behind the bench, will be invaluable over the coming weeks.”
This is an interesting opportunity for Dineen, who was one of the hottest coaching prospect before the Panthers hired him three years ago. If nothing else, it's unique.
For Canada, this is a strange course to take having lost the head coach who appeared to be well liked by his team this close to the Olympics. Now they'll have an unfamiliar boss who may not be as familiar with the women's game as Canada looks to defend gold once again. However, Dineen has had success as a coach and should relish a chance to be back on a bench and under the Olympic microscope.