Maine Hockey Journal

Coaching staff announced…..Well sort of

Well the cat is out of the bag. The Portland Pirates didn’t make any grand announcement as was expected yesterday or today as to whom the new coaching staff was going to be, but they did confirm a leaked report by Lindsey Kramer on that Gord Dineen and Matt Laatsch were named to replace Eric Weinrich and Bruce Crowder.

While it wasn’t a surprise that Gord Dineen was named as one of the coaches for the Pirates, it’s certainly a bit of a shock that Laatsch was named as the other assistant coach.

Laatsch is only 26, just removed from his playing days at the University of Denver where he led the team to back-to-back NCAA titles, finishing school before moving on to play only four games with the former Utah Grizzlies of the AHL. When he completed his pro career albeit short, he came back to the University of Denver, taking the role as a volunteer assistant coach.

I must admit that I am a bit skeptical in the decision of hiring Gord Dineen and Matt Laatsch. Gord’s proved himself as a competent coach in the AHL, but to mix family and business together is a whole another issue. Let’s face the facts. The Dineen’s are in the hockey business as five brothers and a father have been entrenched in the sport of hockey for over fifty years, but to have two brothers in a volatile sport is going to make for an interesting situation. As the saying goes, “Never mix business with family”. Now I’m sure they will be professionals on the ice, but I’m willing to throw in the first five-dollar bet that an all out brotherly battle will occur over the last Thanksgiving turkey leg at some point this season. I’m sure Dr. Phil would love that episode; better yet, I hear Jerry Springer is on line two.

What is even more surprising is the fact they’ve tossed a 26-year old kid into this family fire without any real hockey coaching experience. He played all of four game pro games; he was an assistant coach for the University of Denver. He has no head coaching experience of any kind. Ok, he won back-to-back NCAA hockey titles, but that doesn’t make him the next Scotty Bowman. I mean I raced stock cars once, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to race against Tony Stewart or Jeff Gordon. He said that it wouldn’t be a credibility issue, but have a hard time believing that some veteran won’t feel a little bit like, “who the hell is this”.

Despite the cynicism, I wish the coaching staff the best of luck and I hope at the end of the year they have me eating my words, but I have feeling I’ll be saying “I miss Bruce”.

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