Hockey Canada turned to former NHL coach and player Kevin Dineen to coach it’s women’s hockey team, less than a week after Dan Church resigned the post.
Dineen, 50, coached the Florida Panthers from 2011-13. He played 19 NHL season among five teams. He is a Quebec native and a 1984 Winter Olympian.
“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 Hockey Canada COO Scott Smith, according to Hockey Canada. “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.”
The Canadian women are considered co-favorites with the U.S. for gold at the Sochi Olympics. Canada has won the last three Olympic titles, but the U.S. beat Canada in Ottawa for the World Championship in April.
Canada beat the U.S. three straight times to open their fall/winter pre-Olympic series. Church resigned Thursday, hours before their fourth game, saying he felt others lacked confidence in his coaching ability but not going into more detail.
Dineen is the first man to coach the Canadian women’s Olympic team, following Shannon Miller in 1998, Daniele Sauvageau in 2002 and Melody Davidson in 2006 and 2010.
“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 Davidson, who is now a Hockey Canada general manager. “His experience, both on the ice and behind the bench, will be invaluable over the coming weeks.”