SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Kevin Dineen of the Portland Pirates has been named the winner of the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding coach for the 2005-06 season, as voted by members of the media in each of the league’s 27 cities.
In his first season coaching at any level, Dineen has guided Portland (48-18-5-3) to the brink of its first-ever division title, occupying first place in the Atlantic Division since Dec. 10. With six games remaining, the Pirates’ 104 points are tied for the most by a Portland team in the city’s 28-year history of hosting AHL hockey. The Pirates rank second in the league in offense, averaging 3.80 goals per game, and also boast six players among the top 20 in plus/minus rating.
Dineen, whose father Bill won the Pieri Award in both 1985 and 1986, led his team through the loss of Dustin Penner, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Zenon Konopka to long-term NHL recalls, as well as injuries to players like Tim Brent, Pierre Parenteau, Curtis Glencross and Jordan Smith.
A 42-year-old native of Quebec City, Dineen made his professional debut in the AHL with Binghamton in 1984-85 before going on to a standout 18-year NHL career in which he became one of eight players in league history to record more than 300 goals and 2,000 penalty minutes in a career. After retiring on Nov. 5, 2002, Dineen spent two seasons in the Columbus Blue Jackets’ hockey operations department before being hired by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim as their primary development coach in July 2005.
The Louis A.R. Pieri Award, which was first presented in 1968, honors the late Mr. Pieri, a long-time contributor to the AHL as the owner of the Providence Reds. Pieri also served as the general manager of three Calder Cup champions (1938, 1940, 1949) in Providence.
Dineen is the third Pirates coach to win the Pieri Award, joining Barry Trotz (1994) and Glen Hanlon (2000). Other previous winners of the award include Frank Mathers (1969), Fred Shero (1970), Al MacNeil (1972, ’77), Floyd Smith (1973), John Muckler (1975), Jacques Demers (1983), Larry Pleau (1987), Mike Milbury (1988), John Paddock (1988), Marc Crawford (1993), Robbie Ftorek (1995, ’96), Peter Laviolette (1999), Don Granato (2001), Claude Julien (2003), Claude Noel (2004) and Randy Cunneyworth (2005).
In operation since 1936, the AHL is celebrating its historic 70th anniversary this season, and continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 80 percent of all NHL players today are AHL graduates, and over 350 AHL players have been recalled to the NHL this season alone.