Quotes from Dineen, Ferguson at Head Coach Press ConferenceJul 16, 2019
Kevin Dineen was announced as head coach of the San Diego Gulls at a press conference at Pechanga Arena San Diego on Monday. With the announcement, Dineen became the second head coach of the Gulls.
Dineen, 55, was an assistant coach for the Chicago Blackhawks from 2014-18, helping lead the club to a Stanley Cup championship in 2015. A native of Quebec City, Quebec, Dineen previously served as head coach of the Florida Panthers from 2011-13, guiding the club to a 56-62-28 record.
Joning him on stage was Gulls General Manager Bob Ferguson who opened the press conference with comments onDineen.
Bob Ferguson: First of all, on behalf of Henry and Susan Samueli, Jillian Reddin, Matt Savant, Bob Murray, David McNab and everybody in the Gulls and Ducks organization, I want to thank everybody for being here. We want to take the opportunity to publicly congratulate Dallas Eakins on his promotion to Anaheim and it’s comforting to know that the future of our organization is in good hands up in Anaheim with Dallas. That being said, it’s one of the reasons why we are here today, the future of our organization. One of the things that we believe in as an organization is the development of players. We are very fortunate to have a good crop of young players and a lot of them will be moving up to Anaheim next year. One of the things we believe in is when we’re developing players, we not only want to develop them to play in the NHL, we want to develop them to win in the NHL. A lot of teams just say ‘we’ll work hard on getting them to the NHL,’ but we want our players to learn how to win in the NHL. We feel that with the hiring of Kevin, that’s what we have.
We’ll go back to the 2007 Stanley Cup that Anaheim won. Kevin was with our organization at that part, coaching our development team [in Portland]. A lot of players that were on that team, the two most noteworthy are Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, developed and played under Kevin. When the search began to have someone come in, we wanted to go with somebody that has had success, knows how to develop players and has won not only at this level, but he has been a part of Stanley Cup organizations, most recently with the Chicago Blackhawks. We’re very happy, very fortunate that we got someone who is going to be able to carry on that winning tradition, carry on the development of our players and most importantly, not only develop them, but develop them in order to win in the NHL. That’s what we feel we have in Kevin and we are very pleased today to announce Kevin Dineen as the next head coach of the San Diego Gulls.
Kevin Dineen: Thank you for that long resume. I always get an eye-roll from my wife when the penalty minutes come up right off the bat. Anyways, good afternoon. I will begin by saying how thrilled I am to return to the Ducks organization and be named the second coach in San Diego Gulls history. A big thanks to Henry and Susan Samueli, Jillian Reddin, Michael Schulman and Bob Murray for this wonderful opportunity. The hockey world really is a small fraternity and San Diego is considered just one of the premiere franchises in the American Hockey League. Whether you’re talking to players, coaches or management, and many are around here today, they just rave about our team and our fan base and the support that they receive throughout the community. We are thrilled to be a part of that.
In the area, you see the growth of hockey in San Diego. We were just talking that there are seven rinks in the area. You see the players that are playing in Juniors, at the college level and at the professional level that grew up in this area. I did coach women’s hockey as well and I really enjoyed seeing that lady Duck logo next to a lot of ladies that are playing at the college level or representing their country at the international level. We consider that to be part of our mission to grow the game at the grassroots level here in the area. As Bob Ferguson mentioned, player development has always been a priority in the organization and will continue to be our goal, to produce players to win their second Stanley Cup. In saying that as well, we are on the heels of a Western Conference Finals appearance and there is an expectation of success here. I am really excited to begin the work necessary to help this team and help these young players grow into fine young men and players that can help the Ducks win in the future. I’m just thrilled to be here. My family and I are extremely excited to become part of the community and I appreciate you all taking the time today and coming out to welcome us to San Diego. Thank you.
On his decision to become an AHL head coach over a NHL assistant coach
Dineen: When you’re a head coach for nine years, you have a chance to run your own program, something that I really enjoyed. After we were let go in Chicago, I had a chance to represent Canada at the Spengler Cup this year, which was in Switzerland. I really enjoyed that experience, but for me, I was able to work with one of, if not, the best coach ever in the game in Joel Quenneville and it was a fabulous number of years for me (in Chicago). I feel like I learned a bucket load of things from Joel, but I think when you decide what you’re going to do, you set your focus. I wanted a chance to run my own program here again and that’s not through the NHL at this point. So to come back and be a part of an organization that has such a great commitment to doing things the proper way, and that starts at the top with the Samuelis and it works into your whole program with your scouting staff and the players that I’ve seen when I was with the organization in the past. That was kind of my thought process, it would’ve been nice to get back. It’s great when you’re working with the best players in the world, but to come in and work with these young players, there is great enjoyment in that as well.
On how his experience has prepared him to develop players for Anaheim
Dineen: I think you take something from everywhere you’ve been. I think that’s part of the experience and that one of the things that you’ve drawn. I think that may end up putting your resume at the top of the list. Yes, I’ve worked with Marian Hossa, I’ve worked with Duncan Keith for four-to-five years, I’ve also worked on the women’s side of the game, which improves your communication skills. There’s a ton of things that go along and for me, it’s been awhile since I’ve played, but you still rely on a lot of your own experiences as a player. As much as so many of the areas of the game have changed, you reach back to some of the things that haven’t changed. We go through a tough stretch, what have you. You’ve learned and the chance to impart that on players that are coming up. I think that’s the real key, that’s where the enjoyment is, when you see players go on to have long and successful careers. I feel that’s kind of where I feel that I have a strength in.
On how his style of play will translate to his players
Dineen: I think as a coach, and I’ve seen this before whether working with Joel Quenneville or working with other coaches, we all see the game a certain way. I don’t know a whole lot about goaltending, but when I’m looking at a net, I have a pretty good idea of where there might be openings. I have that forward’s mentality, you have a defensive mentality. The one thing that I’ve always been proud of, and I’ve had comments or compliments on it, is the work ethics of my teams. I think that’s what the San Diego fan base will look for, a really hard-working team. They’re looking for an honest, sincere effort every night and I can guarantee that we’ll bring that every night. A little bit of my style of playing, I didn’t leave too much off the ice and I plan on having our players playing the same way.
On the traits make Dineen a good fit as the Gulls new head coach
Ferguson: The biggest thing for me, and I have worked with Kevin in the past, I was coaching our AA affiliate when he was coaching [the Portland Pirates]. I’ve been involved in training camps with him, but more importantly is he’s been successful where he’s been. It goes with what we’ve been saying. I know when Bob Murray was doing his search, we wanted somebody that’s had success. He’s had success developing players for us, he’s won at this level, he took them to a Conference Final one year and that was a big part of developing the players that won the Stanley Cup in Anaheim, and he’s won a Stanley Cup (with Chicago in 2015). When you look at our organization, we’ve got the people like Bob Murray and David McNab who were around in 2007 when we won the Stanley Cup. We’ve got Rick Paterson who has won four Stanley Cups over his time and he’s our director of player personnel. We just hired Darryl Sutter who is bringing two Stanley Cups with his experience. It’s all about developing to win and Kevin fits that. What we really believe in as a group in our organization is a big part of development is winning, and a big part of winning is development. Kevin brings that. He’s proven it not only with our organization, but with other organizations as well.
On the difficulty of putting together a team in a league that has players constantly in and out of the lineup
Dineen: I think there’s challenges in everything that you do, but hopefully the churn is players that are doing well and going up to Anaheim. That’s the goal. You deal with that every single day. I think there’s always lines of communication with your group and you have a real diverse age mixture with players. That’s another attractive part about San Diego is that the Gulls have always supplied quality players in your lineup. These kids have had a lot of experience, they expect a lot of feedback and you know what, it’s not always roses everyday that you come into work, but you go to work, you work hard, you try to get better and I find that there’s great satisfaction in that. You go in there, you put the effort in and then you know what, we live in a great place, go out and enjoy your day, but when you’re at that rink for those four hours, let's get our business done.
On his team philosophy on the ice and how it has evolved
Dineen: I think it does every year. Part of the way that I would answer that question when you’re the American League team, there is a level of symmetry between your NHL team and your American League team in the style of play. I don’t think you mirror that in every single way. I’ve had some great conversations with Dallas years ago, we had a great conversation last week. It makes my job a lot easier that I have a relationship with him and he’s going up into the role that we are going to be looking to play. To me, you take care of business in your own end. We defend extremely hard, you play the game the right way in your end and then let’s go on offense. Let them go out and enjoy that part of the game, it’s a little more creative side of it, it’s not as coachable, but the defensive side of the game, that’s where you have to play the game the right way. That would probably be the evolution of my game. Bob was nice enough to point out, I had some really good players the last time I was with Anaheim in Portland, Maine. We let the dogs run a lot back in those days and it was really a fun style of hockey. At the end of it, there’s a level of defense that wins championships and that’s what we need to do.
On his relationship with Dallas Eakins
Dineen: We would’ve played against each other back in the day, I think I got a few years on Dallas and I know he’s in a heck of a lot better shape than I am, that’s for sure. My brother Gord and Dallas were together in Toronto’s organization. I think they coached there for four years together and every year, the coach’s clinic at the draft, at different times, I may have caught one of my brother’s games on the way when he was with Toronto. You go down to the locker room and have a nice chat. It’s a coaching fraternity, it really is. Sometimes you’re in different organizations, but you have paths that cross over the course of that. Brian Burke had a birthday party a number of years ago in Toronto, Dallas and I were there and we spent a lot of time together. I think there’s a mutual respect there and nobody could be happier for Dallas, to see the road that he’s taken and what he’s done here for the last four years, I think is just fabulous. There’s nothing like paying your dues and it’s hard to say you’re paying your dues in San Diego, but it’s a well-deserved spot that he’s in at Anaheim. We not only wish him a ton of success, we want to help him have a ton of success.
On the advantage of becoming the second head coach of an organization
Dineen: What really works for me, I had a chance to meet a number of our staff here whether it’s on the management side, the trainer side, the PR side. And you know what, we’re returning the coaching staff that was under Dallas, and for me, when you have all those assets right in front of you it just makes your job a lot easier. I think you end up putting your own fingerprints on things. There are things that we all do a little bit different, but in saying that I look like I have a heck of a setup here. Having the resources of all these folks that have great knowledge of how they’ve done their business in the past.
On the learning experience of his time in Florida
Dineen: We all get older and hit a few bumps along the way. Now my very good, close friends back in Florida, I’ll be cheering for them. We had four fabulous years in Chicago. My family was incredibly welcomed there, we enjoyed our time there, we had success there. Over the course of it, your paths cross and things happen, but the nice part is you meet so many good people in this game. A little painful lesson is definitely a sting when you get fired, and that’s what you sign up for in this business. I get it and you do pick up some things along the way. You can get into a ton of specifics, how you play, personnel, different things. At the end of it, you better stick to your convictions and not be wavering in a lot of your decisions. You have to have a good strong belief in yourself.