It would be an understatement to say Bill Dineen has had a lifetime in hockey. He’s had several lifetimes in hockey. Some of them are named Kevin and Peter and Gord and Shawn and Jerry.
The Dineen family patriarch was today inducted into the American League Hall of Fame along with three others – three-time Calder Cup champion coach Al MacNeil, prolific scoring defenseman John Slaney and four-time Calder Cup goalie Bob Perreault.
Dineen, 81, had an unusual career path in pro hockey. He debuted with the Detroit Red Wings at 20, then spent the next five seasons patrolling the right wing in the NHL with the Wings, where he won two Stanley Cups, and Chicago Black Hawks. From there, Dineen spent the next six seasons in the AHL with Buffalo, Cleveland, Rochester and Quebec. From there it was one more step down to the Western League for seven seasons with Seattle and Denver.
Dineen had his greatest impact coaching – professionally and within his family. All five sons played pro, three of them in the NHL – Kevin, Peter and Gord.
The native of Arvida, Que., won five championships as a coach, one in the WHL with the Denver Spurs, two in the World Hockey Association with the Houston Aeros, and two more in the AHL with the Adirondack Red Wings. Dineen won the Louis Pieri Memorial Award as coach of the year in the AHL twice, back-to-back in 1984-85 and 1985-86.
Dineen, who settled in the Glens Falls area of the Adirondack Mountains, also coached for two seasons in the Philadelphia Flyers, where his son Kevin played. Kevin Dineen now coaches the Canadian women’s team at the Sochi Olympics.
MacNeil is best known for his years coaching and managing in the NHL with Montreal and Calgary. But he also played 500 games in the NHL and played four seasons in the AHL before moving into coaching. He guided the Nova Scotia Voyageurs to two of the greatest back-to-back seasons in AHL history. They included Calder Cups.
Slaney was a first-round draft pick of the Washington Capitals in 1990. He is perhaps best known for scoring the winning goal for Canada over the Soviet Union at the 1991 world juniors.
Although the St. John’s, N.L., native did manage 268 games at the NHL level with seven teams, he is recognized as the most accomplished offensive defenseman in AHL history. He was the first AHL defenseman to reach 500 points and established the league record for goals (166) and points (519) for a rearguard.
Perreault starred in the AHL for two decades, playing with Providence, Rochester and Hershey and played in various other leagues, including 31 games in the NHL. His four Calder Cups are tied for most by a goaltender and he ranks sixth with 229 wins and third with 37 shutouts, He died in 1980 at age 49.
The AHL’s All-Star Classic goes tonight in St. John’s with the AHL All-Stars facing Farjestad of the Swedish League.
Brian Costello is The Hockey News’s senior editor and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blog. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Brian Costello on Twitter at @BCostelloTHN