SCORE! Utica Comets’ New Coach is an Experienced NHL Player and Coach
The Utica Comets have a new coach for the upcoming 2021-22 season, which will be the team's first as an affiliate of the New Jersey Devils in more than two decades.
The Devils made the announcement Thursday that Kevin Dineen, a 19-NHL veteran and one-time coach of the Florida Panthers will be the man behind the bench in Utica. Dineen, 57, skated for four different NHL teams - Carolina/Hartford, Philadelphia, Columbus, and Ottawa) - logging nearly 1,200 games (1,188) and tallying a total of 760 NHL points on 355 goals and 405 assists.
He also put in some work, with more than 2,220 career penalty minutes logged.
As a coach, Dineen has the lone Panthers head man gig under his belt from 2011-2013. He was a Stanley Cup while an assistant coach with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2015, and for the past three seasons Dineen was the coach of the AHL's San Diego Gulls.
“We could not be more genuinely excited to welcome Kevin as the third coach in Comets history,” Comets President Robert Esche said in a statement announcing the hire. “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.”
After spending the past eight seasons as an affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks, the Comets will enter a new chapter this fall, beginning their second stint as a development team for the Devils (New Jersey had its AHL club in Utica in the early 1990's, called the Utica Devils).
Dineen hails from Quebec City, Quebec is a married father of four, two boys and two girls.
A release announcing the hire including the follow staff updates as well:
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 at the Adirondack Bank Center on October 17. Amazingly, the team says that date will actually mark the anniversary of the Utica Devils inaugural game 34 years ago.