Hockey Canada announced yesterday that Kevin Dineen, former head coach of the Florida Panthers, has been selected to coach Canada’s National Women’s Team through the 2013-14 season. This includes their upcoming 2014 Olympic run in Sochi.

“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 Scott Smith, Hockey Canada’s chief operating officer. “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.”

Dineen coached the Florida Panthers for bits of three seasons spanning from 2011 to 2013. While he was at the helm for a very shaky start to this season, he did lead the team to its first playoff berth in over a decade when the Panthers were the Southeast Division Champions for the 2011-12 season – their first ever division title. Before coaching in the NHL, Dineen led the AHL’s Portland Pirates for six seasons, receiving a coach of the year award during his time there.

A native of Toronto, Ont., Dineen has represented Canada six times. He played in the IIHF World Championship in 1985, 1987, 1989, and 1993 (winning silver medals in ’85 and ’89). He also won the Canada Cup in 1987. Dineen played in the Olympic Winter Games in 1984, so the Olympics will not be a new experience for him when he joins the Canadian women there in February.

“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 Melody Davidson, general manager of female national teams with Hockey Canada. “His experience, both on the ice and behind the bench, will be invaluable over the coming weeks.”

 

Photo: Larry MacDougal, AP

Born in the “non-traditional” hockey market of South Florida, Elizabeth (Beth) quickly grew to love the sport at a very young age after her Buffalo-bred family introduced her to the Sabres. High school friends who didn’t care about hockey couldn't understand her withdrawals during the 2004-05 lockout, but college would bring a hockey loving boyfriend (and best friend) to whom she could finally relate. A South Florida native himself, and an avid Florida Panthers fan, he got her into the home team. Together they work for their college hockey club (the FAU Owls), broadcasting games. Beth is a huge USA Hockey fan and hopes to see them win Olympic gold in her lifetime. Between her 2 favorite NHL teams, her college squad, and USA Hockey, it's hard to tell which team she loves most, but she is passionate about them all.

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