Gary Dineen, a former Calder Cup champion widely regarded as one of the top development coaches in all of hockey, passed away on Saturday morning following a lengthy battle with cancer.
He was 62.
Dineen played only one full season in the American Hockey League, and helped the Springfield Kings to a Calder Cup championship in 1971. He later served as Springfield’s head coach in 1971-72 and again in 1977-78.
It was at the helm of one of the United States’ most successful junior hockey organizations that Dineen made his most significant contributions, as a head coach and general manager of the New England junior program based in Enfield, Conn.
Additionally, the Gary Dineen Hockey School has helped develop more than 25,000 young players over the last 34 years.
Graduates of the New England Junior Falcons program (previously known as the Junior Coyotes, Junior Whalers and ’Pics) include current American Hockey League players Jon DiSalvatore (Peoria), Doug Janik (Rochester), Dan Cavanaugh (Springfield), Doug Nolan (Manchester) and Gregg Johnson (Binghamton), as well as AHL graduates Bill Guerin (Dallas), Chris Clark (Washington), Ron Hainsey (Columbus), Mike Komisarek (Montreal) and Dan LaCouture (Boston).