Maine Hockey Journal

Weinrich… Pirates coach of the future?

Portland, ME – As the Pirates were announcing Eric Weinrich as the new assistant coach for the Pirates, something popped into my head.

Weinrich is the prince-in-waiting for the Pirates head coaching position.

What’s that you say?

No way… How can you read the future?

No, I’m not reading tarot cards or trying see into any crystal ball, but sitting there at the press conference today, listening to both Managing Owner/CEO Brian Petrovek and Weinrich himself, I get the distinct notion that Weinrich will be with the Pirates for a very long time.

Weinrich entering his third year with the Pirates – second stint as an assistant coach after playing on defense for the last year and a half – will have more of a hand on approach then in his last stint behind the bench.

“I’m going to have a lot more responsibility and the days are going to be a lot longer,” said Weinrich. “Talking with Darcy Regier and Kevin (Dineen) they expect a lot. They expect a lot of development with the guys, so it’s definitely an expanded role.”

Under that scenario, Weinrich will have no better teacher than current head coach Kevin Dineen to guide and teach the 18-year NHL veteran the many nuances that come with being a head coach at the professional level.

“As a player, it was easy to learn so much from a guy who got so much respect as a player himself,” Weinrich said. “When he said something you know he’s done it himself and it means a lot coming from somebody of his playing experience.”

“He’s lived with his dad (Bill Dineen) who’s been a coach forever and all his brothers have been in hockey.”

“Its experience and for me to be around a guy like that… hopefully I can take away a lot of what he does.”

Not taking anything away from Dineen, he could be in Portland for the next 10 years, but in all likelihood that’s not realistic as a shot at the NHL is not too far in the distant future for the former A.R. Pieri Award winner.

When the time comes for Dineen to move on, it makes sense on numerous levels from a marketing standpoint as to why Weinrich is the Pirates head coach in waiting.

Petrovek alluded to just a few of them today.

“We’ve got an unbelievable situation here because these guys wanted to be here,” he said referring to the hiring of Kevin Dineen and Eric Weinrich.

“It’s always good to have world-class brands throughout the family. I think what we have with Kevin and Eric you can’t put a price on that… at the end of the day job one for them is to develop players and win games so I think the marketing becomes a natural extension of what they do.”

Weinrich was a Maine kid, with Maine roots, who went on to have a successful NHL career, now wants to be apart of the Portland landscape. Being involved in hockey is only a bonus as he and wife Tracy firmly entrench their roots in Maine with their children.

Weinrich was asked a couple times over the summer if he was only applying for the job because of his proximity to Portland. Weinrich didn’t hold back in his answer while showing a little insight that when Dineen moves on, his resume won’t be far from the desk of whoever the affiliate of the Pirates is at that time.

“Of Course,” he said. “That was part of the reason why I wanted to put my name in for this job because I wanted stay here. This is such a great place. This is the place where Tracy and our family wanted to put our roots, so if there is a job opening in Portland, Maine, you better believe I am going to have my name in for that.”

What ever happens over the next 12 months, one thing will be for sure, Weinrich has hung up the skates for good, and so there will be no Brett Farve impersonations at the Cumberland County Civic Center this winter.

Weinrich will absorb from the teacher as he’s done his whole career and head coach Weinrich may not be too far from the future.

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