Utica, NY- The New Jersey Devils today announced it has named Kevin Dineen as Head Coach of the Utica Comets. Dineen, the third head coach in Comets’ history, will lead a returning group of Associate Coach Sergei Brylin, Assistant Coach Ryan Parent, Goaltending Coach Brian Eklund, and Video Coach Adam Purner to make up the Utica Comets 2021-22 Coaching Staff. The announcement was made by Devils’ Executive Vice President/General Manager Tom Fitzgerald.
Tom Fitzgerald, Robert Esche and I are pleased to bring Kevin and his family into the New Jersey Devils organization, and we all look forward to what he will bring to Utica,” said Devils Assistant General Manager/Utica Comets General Manger Dan MacKinnon. “Kevin’s vast coaching experience leading both an NHL and AHL bench, winning a Stanley Cup as an Assistant Coach and his international experience with young players covers all you could look for to lead our AHL team. The organization is excited by the players who will hit the ice in Utica this season and their future possibilities to help the big club in New Jersey. Kevin, and the entire returning staff, have all the attributes we look for in individuals to help our players develop successfully.”
Dineen, 57, last served as head coach of San Diego (AHL) for the Anaheim Ducks organization during the previous two seasons, posting a 56-36-9=121 points record and a three-game playoff appearance in 2021 (1-2-0). Prior to San Diego, he was an assistant coach, from 2014-15 to 2018-19, with the Chicago Blackhawks, winning a Stanley Cup in his first year on Joel Quenneville’s staff.
Following his playing career, he spent 2003-04 to 2004-05 as Assistant General Manager with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Dineen would begin his coaching career spending the next six seasons as Head Coach of the Portland Pirates (2005-06 to 2007-08 as the Anaheim AHL affiliate; 2008-09 to 2010-11 as Buffalo Sabres AHL affiliate). He took the club to two Eastern Conference Finals (2006 & 2008), winning the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award (AHL Coach of the Year) in his inaugural season.
Dineen would make the jump to the NHL at the start of the 2011-12 season serving as the Head Coach of the Florida Panthers for two seasons. He would go on to post a 56-62-28 record in two full seasons, taking the Panthers to the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in his first season in 2012, falling to eventual Eastern Conference Champion New Jersey.
As an international coach, Dineen helmed Team Canada's women's national ice hockey team, leading the squad to a fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also coached Canada's men’s team at the 2014 IIHF World Junior U-18 Championships winning a Bronze Medal.
Drafted by Hartford in the third round (56th overall) in the 1982 NHL Draft, the right-shooting, rugged winger played 19 seasons in the NHL, tallying 1,188 contests with four different teams (Carolina/Hartford, Philadelphia, Columbus, and Ottawa). The veteran totaled 760 points in his career, scoring 355 goals and 405 assists with 2,229 penalty minutes. He added 41 points (23 goals, 18 assists) with 127 penalty minutes in 59 Stanley Cup Playoff games
Born October 28, 1963, in Quebec City, Que., Kevin and his wife, Annie, have four children, two daughters (Hannah and Emma) and two sons (William and Declan).
“We could not be more genuinely excited to welcome Kevin as the third coach in Comets history,” expressed Comets President Robert Esche. “As we prepare to begin a new era of Comets hockey, there is no better person, on or off the ice, that I can think of to champion this new chapter.”
In addition to Dineen and the returning coaching staff, Damion Parmelee joins the organization from his time in Utica with the Vancouver Canucks organization as the new Head Equipment Manager, Chris Murphy continues with the AHL team as Assistant Equipment Manager, Jon Williams comes from Binghamton to Utica as Head Athletic Trainer/Strength & Conditioning Coach and Steve Nightingale joins Utica as Strength & Conditioning Coach.
The Comets open the 2021-2022 season at home inside the Adirondack Bank Center on October 17. The game will mark the anniversary of the Utica Devils inaugural game 34 years ago.