Joel Quenneville and Kevin Dineen have a long history together.
It started in Hartford back in the 1980s, when the two were Whalers teammates. Their friendship continues to this day, as each has found success through coaching, be it in the NHL and/or at the international level.
Now the former teammates are together again; this time, it’s behind the bench.
Dineen was hired as a Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach on Monday, replacing the vacancy left when Jamie Kompon took the general manager/coaching job with the Portland Winterhawks. Dineen, who was Quenneville’s teammate with the Whalers from 1984-90, said in a statement that he’s excited to join his longtime friend.
“I am thrilled to join Joel Quenneville, a future hall of fame coach, and Mike Kitchen, as we strive to reach the ultimate goal in professional hockey," said Dineen. “After spending time speaking with John McDonough, Stan Bowman and Al MacIsaac it is easy to understand why the Chicago Blackhawks are considered one of the top franchises in all of professional sports. Starting with Rocky Wirtz and continuing through the rest of the organization, the measure of success is very high in Chicago. I look forward to supporting the coaching staff and working with some of the best players in the National Hockey League.”
The 50-year-old Dineen’s most recent NHL coaching job came with the Florida Panthers, who he guided from 2011-13. Under Dineen the Panthers won the 2011-12 Southeast Division title, making the postseason for the first time since 1999-2000.
Dineen was in the running for some head coaching vacancies this summer including in Carolina, where another former Whalers teammate, Ron Francis, is general manager. The Hurricanes hired Bill Peters, former Rockford IceHogs head coach and Detroit assistant coach, instead.
Internationally, however, Dineen was still making a coaching impact. He coached the Canadian women’s team, which stunned Team USA late in regulation to win gold at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
“Kevin brings proven leadership qualities, having served as an alternate captain and captain for several of his teams during his 19-year NHL career,” general manager Stan Bowman said in a statement. “He will bring another well-respected voice to our coaching staff and we look forward to his contributions to our team.”
There’s something to be said for familiarity with your staff. Quenneville’s had it for quite some time, be it with Mike Kitchen and former assistant Kompon. Now former teammates and longtime friends reunite as coaches. It should bode well for the Blackhawks.