CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Kevin Dineen became coach of Canada's women's hockey team Tuesday ahead of the Sochi Olympics, a month after his firing by the Florida Panthers.
He succeeds Dan Church, who unexpectedly resigned last week less than two months before the games in Russia. The Canadian women's team is aiming to win Olympic gold for the fourth straight time.
"This has been a whirlwind few days, but when this opportunity presented itself I immediately jumped at it," said Dineen, who grew up in Toronto, at a news conference.
This the first international coaching job for the 50-year-old Dineen, a former NHL player who scored 355 goals and added 405 assists on five teams from 1984-2002.
He coached the Panthers for just more than two seasons and is the only coach to win a division championship for the club. When he was fired, the Panthers were off to one of the worst starts in the league this year.
He previously served as head coach of the AHL's Portland Pirates for six seasons (2005-11).
Church said he felt there was a lack of confidence in his ability to win a gold medal.