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Glens Falls Street Named After Famed Hockey Coach

A legendary coach for the Adirondack Red Wings who led the former Glens Falls hockey team to two Calder Cup championships was celebrated today. Bill Dineen, who died at 84 last December, is now immortalized on the avenue in front of the city’s arena.

“One, two, three, pull!”

The Civic Center Plaza in Glens Falls now has a new name. The street in front of the arena that has served as a home for hockey at several different levels for decades was renamed for former AHL Adirondack Red Wings Coach Bill Dineen on Thursday.

Dineen’s son Kevin, a former NHL player who continued his dad’s line of work and is now an assistant coach for the Chicago Blackhawks, unveiled the Bill Dineen Way sign on Thursday surrounded by members of the Dineen family.

“Not only did he coach here, he was a huge part of the community,” said Kevin. “There’s a ton of people that still ask me about ‘Coach’  and whenever we were in town we always spent a little down around the Civic Center, whether it was my dad coaching or one of my brothers playing.”

Kevin, who played in the NHL under his dad with the Philadelphia Flyers in the early 90s, said the Glens Falls Civic Center, recently renamed the Cool Insuring Arena, was like a second home to his family.

Five of Dineen’s six children still own permanent or seasonal homes in the Glens Falls region. Two of Dineen’s sons played at the Civic Center. 

“One thing he had going for him is that players always wanted to play for him.”

Dineen’s son Peter played two seasons for the Red Wings and his dad in Glens Falls.

“Back in that day, in the mid-80s, it was probably more of an intense-type hockey, you know. It wasn’t type x and o’s and what have you. But I think his teams typically had a lot of energy,” said Peter.

Dineen, who coached from 1983 to 1989, helped lead the Wings to the Calder Cup in 1986 and 1989.

Dineen, who also played in the National Hockey League for the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings, was inducted into the Adirondack Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010.

After his death in December he was remembered with a moment of silence by the arena’s current tenants, the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL.

After Dineen’s death, Civic Center manager Jeff Mead contacted Peter about honoring his dad and found out that nearly 20 years ago Bill Dineen Way had already been designated, but without a sign.

“And he mentioned that he had thought it had proclamated in 1999, Bill Dineen Way, so I reached out to Dan Hall, City of Glens Falls, and he confirmed it. And then the Common Council redid a new resolution and here we are today,” said Mead.

The Adirondack Thunder will hold a special Bill Dineen Night on December 9th. During the game against the Norfolk Admirals, the Thunder will wear special Bill Dineen-themed jerseys that will be auctioned off following the game.

Dineen’s name will also be placed on a banner to be hung from the rafters, where the Red Wings’ history is still celebrated.

Dineen’s son Gordon said the proclamation Thursday was special for his family.

“I know he’s up there smiling up there, looking down on it.”

Lucas Willard is a news reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011. He produces and hosts The Best of Our Knowledge and WAMC Listening Party.
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