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Q&A: Pete Dineen

Tuesday, July 7th
Q&A: Pete Dineen

The Dineen name is legendary in the hockey world. The Glens Falls area is proud to be the place where the majority of the Dineen family still call home. Pete Dineen, the Associate Coach for the Adirondack Thunder, sat down with ECHLThunder.com to go back and re-live great moments from his playing days, what it was like playing for his father and the career change to coaching in this exclusive question and answer feature. 

You come from quite a hockey family.  Tell us a bit about your family: their hockey backgrounds and careers.

PD: My Dad, Bill, played junior hockey in Toronto @ St. Michael’s.  Back in the 50’s, you were put on a list & he was selected by the Detroit Wings when he was 16 years old.  He went to the Wings’ training camp when he was 18 & ended up making the team. In his first two years, he ended up winning the Stanley Cup, playing with players such as Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay & other NHL Hall of Famers. Back then, they were trying to get the Player’s Association started, they had to vote for or against joining.  My Dad was part of a group who was in favor of it and after the upper management found out who had voted for it, they were soon traded & my Dad ended up in Chicago with the BlackHawks for 2 years, playing with Bobby Hull.  He ended up playing the remainder of his career in the AHL and the WHL, which was at par with the AHL at the time. 

My brother Shawn played at the University of Denver and then went on to play in the Central Hockey League as well as the AHL.  He won a championship with the Toledo Goaldiggers. Shawn has been scouting in the NHL, most recently with the Nashville Predators.

Gord played in the Ontario Hockey League in Sault St. Marie and went on to be drafted by the New York Islanders. He also played for the Ottawa Senators and Minnesota in the NHL.  He finished his career playing in the AHL and the IHL, winning 4 championships throughout his career.  Since he retired from playing, Gord has been coaching in the AHL, most recently with the Rochester Americans.

Kevin also attended the University of Denver and was drafted by the Hartford Whalers.  Kevin has played for the Carolina Hurricanes, Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers and the Columbus Blue Jackets, where he finished his career, after playing over 1,000 games.  After retiring, he became involved with coaching, most recently with the San Diego Gulls in the AHL.  Kevin also coached the Canadian Women’s Hockey team, winning the Gold Medal in Sochi, Russia.  The following year won a Stanley Cup as the Assistant Coach of the Chicago Blackhawks, alongside his former teammate, Joel Quinnville.

Jerry played for Plattsburgh State, where he won a National Championship.  Jerry then played in the ECHL for a couple of years and then was involved in a car accident.  He then got an opportunity to work for the New York Rangers as the Video Coach, he still holds this position after 25 years.

How was it growing up when your Dad moved to further his coaching career?  Did you move as he did or stay?

PD: Growing up with a father who was involved in hockey led to a nomadic lifestyle.  It was a bit crazy jumping from school to school when he was traded to a new club.  With 6 kids in the family, it made the adjustment easier.  I think my Mom could have worked for Allied Van Lines, the way she could pack and unpack as many times as we moved over the years.  I think the total number of moves was around 23.  The 1 incident I remember the most was when we were in Denver, CO.  My Dad took a coaching job in Penticton, British Columbia and the rest of our family was going to move there around Christmas.   Our school classes had going away parties for all of us, we said our good-byes and then my Dad was offered a better opportunity with the Houston Aeros of the WHA.  We had to go back to school in Denver and needless to say, it was embarrassing for all 6 kids.

How did it happen that many of the Dineen family ended up on Glen Lake?

PD: When my Dad took the job with the Adirondack Red Wings, we all came back to the Adirondack area to visit and Kevin & Gord were just starting their pro careers.  My parents, Kevin, Gord & I all decided to rent a place for a couple of weeks on Glen Lake.  Needles to say, we fell in love with the area, especially, Glen Lake.  Gord was the first to buy a place on the lake, followed by Kevin and myself. Several years later, Jerry also bought a place on the lake – right next door to me!  My sister, Rose, who is an RN, also lives in the Queensbury area, after her permanent move from Boston.

You played professionally for a long time. Tell us about your playing career.

PD: I played Junior Hockey in Kamloops, British Columbia, alongside Glenn Merkosky. I went on to play in the OHL in Kingston, Ontario and was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers.  I played the majority of my career in the AHL and the IHL.  I got the opportunity to play with the LA Kings and the Detroit Red Wings.  I finished my career with San Diego in the IHL after playing 650 pro games. 

And Championships?

PD: The only Championship I won as a player was with the Adirondack Red Wings, when we won Game 7 against the Hershey Bears in the third overtime.  We then on to beat the New Haven Nighthawks to win The Calder Cup.  As a pro scout with the Boston Bruins, our AHL affiliate, The Providence Bruins, won a championship.  As a pro scout with the Columbus Blue Jackets, our AHL affiliate in Cleveland also won the Calder Cup.

You mentioned your job as a scout with Columbus, what other jobs did you do post hockey?

PD: After retiring from playing, I was an NHL Scout for various teams until I decided to take an opportunity with the Houston Aeros as Director of Player Personnel/GM.  I then returned to scouting, and eventually ventured into coaching with the Adirondack Thunder in 2018-2019.

Why did you feel it was finally time to begin coaching?

PD: I have always said that the best job in hockey is playing the game, and the closest thing to that is being involved in coaching.  With my Dad being a former coach and 2 of my brothers coaching, I always felt drawn to getting involved in the coaching end of the game. It is nice to see young players getting opportunities at the next level and hopefully you can say you have helped to make them better players and better people.

A lot of travel comes with this job, what helps you get through the trips?

PD: Travel in the ECHL is just part of the drill, jumping on a bus and trekking from City A to City B.  Buses are a lot different today than they were when I played. TVs & wi-fi make the trips more enjoyable.  Bus rides also provide an opportunity to review game videos and to prepare for upcoming pre-game meetings.  To pass the time, we watch Netflix and listen to music.

You get to see a lot of different places in this role, what are some of the best places you’ve been to so far?

PD: I would have to say St. John’s, Newfoundland, Portland, Maine & also the Florida trip during the 2018-2019 season.

Any food recommendations on the road?

PD: Central Provisions in Portland, ME & The Duke of Duckworth in St. John’s, Newfoundland 

Many of those meals most likely are ordered with a beverage, what’s your go-to with a road meal?

PD: Allagash in Portland, ME and Iceberg in St. John’s, Newfoundland

You know what it’s like both as a player and now a coach being in Glens Falls, how loud can the building can get?

PD: One time I think I will always remember was from my first-year pro in the finals. I was playing with the Maine Mariners, Game Six. it was a full house, 10 people deep for standing room only, the impact the fans had on the outcome of the game was unmistakable. It is not just the acoustics in the building, it is also the amount of enthusiasm the Adirondack fans have had throughout the years which makes it a tough rink for visiting teams to come and play in.

How about playing as an Adirondack Red Wing?

PD: The year I signed with Detroit I had an opportunity to sign with a couple of other NHL clubs, knowing that I was most likely going to spend some time down in the AHL. If I was going to play in the AHL, Adirondack was where I wanted to play. Memorable moments: 1. Beating Rochester in the playoffs with a Game 7 in Rochester, where Adirondack had not won a game in their building in 2 years, with Dale Krentz putting on a clinic that night with a hat trick.  2. Winning a Calder Cup here in Adirondack, in front of our loyal and amazing fans. 

You had the unique opportunity of playing for your father, the legendary Bill Dineen. What was that like?

PD: My Dad was an easy guy to play for, as he would be classified as a Player’s Coach.  He listened to the players and as a result, they responded.  Needless to say, I think I got more grief from him than most of the other players, as he felt like he had to lean on me a little more since I was his son.  He wanted everyone to be aware that he didn’t play favorites just because I was his son.  I used to joke with Glenn Merkosky that my Dad favored him more than me, at least when it came to hockey.

Last season did not go as planned. Expectations were high but the team fell short. In your opinion, what went wrong?

PD: Looking back at last season, even though it was an abbreviated year, it was definitely not the outcome we expected.  In the ECHL, many things play a role in the outcome of the season – injuries, AHL call-ups.  Anything short of making the playoffs is unacceptable.  As Alex & I are assembling the team for next season, we will be looking to add character, grit & skill and players who will make a difference.

What is your specific role as Associate Coach?

PD: My role is working with the defensemen, along with the Penalty Kill.  I also review game videos in order to evaluate our players as well as review videos of our upcoming opponents.  Alex and I work together on drawing up plans for practices. Joe Paterson will also be more involved with the team in the 2020-2021 season.  Outside of the hockey part of my role, I am also in charge of the accommodations and expense reports for the players.

How have you adapted to the quarantine?

PD: Like many others who have been impacted, I have attempted to maintain a positive outlook during the current global pandemic.  I have been tackling projects around the house, mountain & road biking with my wife and daughter, spending time on the lake. The toughest part has been not being able to see extended family.  Another thing I have been told was that I was not a very successful fill-in sixth-grade teacher, especially in the Math department.

Can we learn a little bit about the family?

PD: I have been married to my wife, Brandy, who is originally from Warrensburg, for 14 years.  We have one daughter, Bailee, who is 11 and will be going into seventh grade @ Lake George Junior/Senior High School.  Bailee is an avid soccer player, as she plays for Lake George in the fall and for an indoor soccer league throughout the winter and spring.  Bailee also plays basketball and softball.  Brandy & Bailee also love hockey and rarely miss an Adirondack Thunder home game.

How do you usually like to spend your offseason?

PD: I enjoy summers on Glen Lake – boating, paddleboarding, kayaking, biking, and water skiing with my family.  Family BBQs are also a regular occurrence during the summer monthson the lake—you never know when you will end up with 15 or more family members for dinner!

How excited are you to get back at it this fall?

PD: Yes, I am definitely looking forward to getting back on the ice, working with Alex (Loh) & Joe (Paterson) and all the players for the 2020-2021 season.

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