There is a social embrace that isn’t proven but is solidly followed, that we need to give kids roots. We need to provide stable, never changing environments for them to get to the top and get the most out of their childhoods and hockey development. They need consistent friends right beside them that they can call on for life. The idea is that there needs to be a sameness to inspire greatness. That this is so false it is amusing doesn’t seem to change our thinking on it.
“I think at one point my Mom said we had 26 different zip codes growing up.” Gord Dineen is an Assistant Coach with the Toronto Marlies and the son of new AHL Hall of Famer Bill Dineen. To say the Dineens traveled is an understatement. Before any of the kids came along Bill who, was born in Quebec, played junior for the St. Michael’s Majors. His move to the Detroit Red Wings could not have come at a better time as the powerhouse Wings were the team that featured Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay, Earl Reibel and the first Norris Trophy winner Red Kelly. Calling them stacked might be a little bit shy of accurate
Two Stanley Cups later ‘Foxy’ moved to Chicago to play with the Blackhawks for a short time before spending the rest of his career with teams in Buffalo, Cleveland, Rochester, Quebec City, Seattle and Denver. It was during this time that Dineen’s family grew and began life on the hockey road with their Dad.
“It was really all my Mom,” says Gord, “She got us to all those new places, made sure we were signed up and at the rinks we were supposed to be.” The Bill and Patricia Dineen lifelong road trip started out in Seattle and ended up on a quiet lake in the Adirondacks. Along the way they created some talented, intelligent hockey people. Peter and Shawn are scouts for NHL teams (Columbus and Nashville), Jerry is the New York Rangers Video Coach, Kevin is in Sochi. Gord is the incredibly valuable Assistant Coach with Steve Spott’s Marlies.
“Gord’s pedigree is amazing to me. To think that they moved around that much and still got the hockey education necessary to play, scout and coach at the top levels of hockey. I’m just thankful that kind of hockey history is in our room.” The Marlies Head Coach refers to not just the miles traveled but the intelligence gained.
Peter, Kevin and Gord all played in the NHL and anyone who travels to the same rink everyday, to all those tournaments year in year out with their kids might wonder how they could have developed the skills necessary in places like Houston.
“I use to play keep away with Gordie Howe.” Gord refers to the time his Dad was Head Coach of the Houston Aeros in the WHA. That alone doesn’t explain the hockey sense even though Howe was great. The Dineens would go to B.C. in the off-season and play the summer game. When the NHL called Gord in ‘82 with the New York Islanders, his brother Peter had already been drafted to the Flyers in 1980 but spent 8 years in the AHL before getting the call to the L.A. Kings for as short stint. Before coaching at the NHL level Kevin played for Hartford, Philly, Carolina, Ottawa and Columbus. He began coaching in Portland with the Pirates and six years later found a job as a head coach in the NHL with Florida. Kevin now takes his knowledge and intense love of the game to Sochi as coach of the Canadian Women’s Team.
Bill Dineen took a turn in the NHL with the Flyers (he was the oldest rookie coach ever) but it is Adirondack where Foxy still turns heads, elicits hearty handshakes, and broad smiles filled with Civic Auditorium memories.
“There are still folks who come over when we are out to dinner in Glen’s Falls and talk to ‘Coach’, no one ever seems to call him Bill up there.” Gord smiles about those moments and knows that the world of hockey appreciates it’s winners. Bill won two AHL Championships (85-86, 88-89) for the Red Wings in upstate New York. Already in the WHA Hall of Fame, Bill will find a permanent place in the AHL Hall at this year’s All-Star game.
“It’s a great to see the recognition of the time he spent not just as a coach but as a player, a manager, a scout and really for the footprint he set for us to do the same.” Gord followed those steps right into coaching where he continues to help other grow in the game his family loves.
The Dineen Family may have traveled the continent (and now beyond) in their pursuit of great hockey. However, they now have a home base where brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, grandkids and cousins can go every off-season near Glen’s Falls. It is the place where the dust settles until summers end, when the engine of hockey roars back to life and the open road, with many rinks in the distance, seems too good to pass up. Think of that the next time your kids find themselves on a different team than their pals.
(Let’s see if a complete family destination list impresses upon you the miles they’ve traveled and the places they have lived; Toronto, Detroit, Chicago, Buffalo, Cleveland, Rochester, Quebec City, Seattle, Denver, Houston, New England, Adirondack Philadelphia, New York, Indianapolis, Springfield, Minnesota, Kalamazoo, Pittsburgh, Muskegon, Ottawa, San Diego, Denver, Utah, Chicago, Maine, Moncton, Binghamton, Hartford, Carolina, Columbus, Hershey, New haven, Los Angeles, Winston Salem, Raleigh, Nashville, Toledo, Tulsa, Baltimore, Fort Wayne ,Phoenix)