“The Bruins are excited to be promoting from within our organization. Kevin’s experience, work ethic, and commitment to winning and developing players qualify him as the best coach to compliment Bruce’s staff,” Sweeney said. “Kevin’s professionalism and communication skills have always been strong attributes. His success as a Head Coach this past season only reinforced our opinion that Kevin is both ready and excited for the challenges of coaching at the NHL level.”
At the beginning of the 2016-17 season, with the promotion of Bruce Cassidy to the Boston club, Dean was given his first opportunity as head coach as he took the helm of the Bruins’ AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins. During his year as head coach in Providence, he guided the team to a berth in the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs, having helped the team go 43-23-6 (for 96 points) in the regular season. However, it was during the playoffs that Dean’s coaching showed his strongest attributes, taking the Providence Bruins all the way to the Eastern Conference Final, where they fell to the Syracuse Crunch, who beat them 4-1 in the series. This was the first time since 2009 that the Providence Bruins had managed to advance as far as the Eastern Conference Finals.
“First and foremost I’d like to thank the Jacobs family, Cam and Don for affording me this tremendous opportunity. Last year with Providence was a big step forward for me professionally and I am very excited to carry that momentum to the NHL level and work with the best players in the world, “ said Dean.
Prior to his being put in as head coach of the Providence Bruins, he worked as an assistant coach for the team, serving under head coach Bruce Cassidy, whom he will again work with in Boston. These two have worked well in the past, having missed the playoffs only their first year, of five together, in Providence. It is expected that their chemistry behind the bench will show in the performance of the players on the ice.
“We are very pleased to add Kevin to our coaching staff. He’s an extremely knowledgeable hockey mind who is deeply committed to the Bruins organization and development of our players,” said Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy. “We’ve established a strong rapport having coached together for five years in Providence and I look forward to working closely with him again on a daily basis.”
“I know exactly – not exactly, but how he wants to play. Very comfortable with how Butch [Bruce Cassidy] wants to play, and I believe in it. I think that’s one of the reasons that he’s comfortable having me is that I have fully bought into how he wants to play,” Dean acknowledged. “I think he knows that, and I think that’s going to help him and it’ll help me in my transition because there’s not going to be a lot of surprises with how Butch wants to do things. So, I think it should be a little more seamless than it would be than if I was walking into a room or a coach’s room with a bunch of guys I didn’t know. So, the comfort factor will be huge.”
Before joining the Bruins organization in 2011, the University of New Hampshire alumnus played in 331 NHL games for Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, and New Jersey. He won the Stanley Cup with the 1994-95 New Jersey Devils. After his playing career ended, he spent five seasons coaching in the New Jersey Devils organization—four season as an assistant coach with their AHL Lowell Devils and one season as the head coach of their ECHL Trenton Devils.
“I’m excited for a number of reasons. One is probably the most important thing is I’m really excited where the Bruins are headed. I think the organization, and I said this last year and the six years I’ve been here,” shared Dean Tuesday afternoon. “Last year development camp and the development camp before, you can really see that there are some good, young kids coming in. They’ve obviously got a great core in Boston and I think those two things together make it a really exciting place to have the opportunity to come coach.”
With the replacement of Boston’s head coach Claude Julien in February 2017 with Cassidy, it was clear that the jump and the speed of the Boston Bruins was expected to improve. The team was able to climb up in the standings, ultimately earning a playoff spot. They were knocked out in the first round, but having missed the playoffs the previous two years this was certainly a step in the right direction for the team.
Without the trickling in of their core members —many of whom were playing for their respective countries in the 2016 World Cup—the chemistry among the players will undoubtedly be better than it was at the beginning of last season. And having all their coaches buying into the same system will certainly make it easier for the players to know what to expect from the drop of the first puck at training camp in September.