JuniorHockey.com continues the "Five Questions With" series with the Florida Panthers Kevin Dineen
The focus of this series is to help prospects better understand the thoughts and advice of hockey's top coaches regarding recruitment. The series asks the same set of questions to each coach.
Kevin Dineen enters his first year as the head coach of the Florida Panthers after being named to the position on June 1, 2011.
Dineen, 47, spent the last six seasons as the head coach of Portland (AHL), where he compiled a record of 266-155-59 with a .616 winning percentage, the best in the franchise's history. During this tenure with Portland (Buffalo & Anaheim), his teams won at least 40 games in four of out six seasons, won a pair of division titles (05-06 & 10-11) and advanced to the AHL's Eastern Conference Finals twice (05-06 & 07-08).
Dineen began his college career in 1981-82, with the University of Denver Pioneers of the WCHA. In his first season with the Pioneers, Dineen had 10 goals and 20 points in 27 games. Dineen returned to the Pioneers for the 1982-83 season, where he was named captain as a sophomore and saw his numbers increase to 16 goals and 29 points in 36 games.
Dineen's spent the 1983-84 hockey season with the Canadian National Men's Hockey Team, where he scored five goals and 16 points in 52 games. Dineen also played in the 1984 Winter Olympics, however, he was held pointless in seven games for Team Canada.
A third round draft pick of the Hartford Whalers in the 1982 NHL Entry Draft, Dineen played in 1,188 career National Hockey League games with Hartford (1984-91 & 1995-97), Philadelphia (1991-95), Carolina (1997-99), Ottawa (1999-2000) and Columbus (2000-03). Throughout his 19-year NHL playing career, he scored 355 goals with 405 assists and 2,229 PIM. He also served as NHL team captain while playing for Philadelphia, Hartford and Carolina.
Dineen appeared in two NHL All-Star Games while playing for Hartford (1988 & 1989). Dineen was also named the 90-91 NHL Man-of-the-Year and was a three-time finalist for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (1995, 2001 & 2002). After retiring as a player on Nov. 5, 2002, Dineen spent two seasons working in the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets hockey operations department.
Kevin Dineen was preparing the Panthers to play a road game against the Boston Bruins recently when he took time-out to talk with JuniorHockey.com.
KC: Did you play junior hockey? What was your favorite memory from that experience?
KD: Yes. As a seventeen year old, I played with the St. Michael's Buzzards, a Junior "B" team in Toronto. I guess my best memory is scoring 15 goals and 43 points in 40 games that season. The next season I went on to play D-1 hockey with the University of Denver.
KC: How important is a prospect's academic performance to the college recruitment selection process?
KD: Well times have certainly changed since I played junior and college hockey. It used to be your hockey skills were tantamount and academics were somewhat secondary. Today college coaches have the luxury of selective recruiting. That means kids with lower grade point averages and low SAT scores are now simply over looked. Today the norm is kids go to prep school programs to prepare academically and sharpen hockey skills prior to taking on the rigors of an upper echelon hockey program.
KC: There are nearly 200 junior teams in the United States, so it must be all but impossible to see them. How can a player from a lower level team get your attention?
KD: Well, we have NHL amateur scouts geographically assigned that evaluate talent and rate for our database. I would encourage kids to market themselves with videos. Today our scouts spend a great deal of time evaluating film of potentials looking for that "diamond in the rough." That being said when it comes to college hockey reaching-out to the programs coach or AD is crucial. Coaches want a player with a strong desire to attend and participate in their particular program.
KC: How proactive should the prospect be in the recruiting process?
KD: For college hockey the player who isn't active and persistent will generally be over looked.
KC: Imagine there are all 5,000 junior hockey players sitting in an auditorium and you have just been handed the microphone, what do you want to say to them?
KD: Set high personal goals and be a good steward of the game. Keeping a strong attitude in school as well as the ice will keep your options open in the future.