With Steve Spott promoted to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Marlies were lacking a head coach for the second time in as many summers. This time around, they hired from within, promoting Gord Dineen from assistant to head coach.
Dineen never found his way to the Maple Leafs as a player, but the Toronto native joined the organization in 2008/09 as the Marlies’ assistant coach. This came after a year of coaching the Iowa Chops, where he posted a 0.500 record in his only AHL head coaching experience to date. Beyond that, he has two years of ECHL experience from over a decade ago, and a slew of AHL assistant coaching time over the past 14 seasons.
The start of Dineen’s tenure coincided with Dallas Eakins’ hiring in Toronto. Over the past five years, Dineen has helped build the team into one of the AHL’s powerhouses, finishing three straight seasons with 96 points and a North Division Title. In two of those three years, the Marlies earned 10 or more playoff wins. Dineen’s best quality in that time was his contribution to the special teams units, which have been in the upper chunk of the league in both regards over the past few years.
Also earning a promotion is Derek King. He’s still helping out on the Marlies bench, but his title changes from assistant to associate coach. Technically, this gives him more say than an assistant and a better paycheque. If I had to guess, the two will be essentially splitting the job behind the bench, with Dineen being the more public face.
These moves now shift the vacancy to the Marlies’ second assistant coaching slot. At this time, candidates are not known. Expect more info as we approach training camp.