In the first of many “let’s get everyone caught up on the Thunder offseason news” posts, let’s first begin at the top, as the look behind the bench is a lot different than it was last season.
-After a successful head coaching debut that saw his team finish one round shy of the Kelly Cup Finals, Brad Tapper was hired as an assistant coach by the Grand Rapids Griffins in early July. As the second head coach in ECHL Adirondack history, Tapper finished with a 41-24-3-4 regular season record, and carried a Glens Falls-based franchise to a conference final for the first time since the AHL’s Adirondack Red Wings won the Calder Cup in 1992.
-As for Tapper’s replacement, the Thunder did not have to look very far, as associate coach Alex Loh was promoted to head coach and Director of Hockey Operations. This will be Loh’s first head coaching opportunity after being an assistant with the Thunder since the team moved from Stockton in 2015, moving up to the Associate Coach role last season. Before joining Adirondack, Loh spent three years with the Portland Pirates on their coaching staff, and has amateur coaching experience at both the high school and college levels.
Recently the new coach became the first guest on the new Thunder podcast, hosted by team broadcaster Evan Pivnick:
-So who would replace Loh as the associate coach? How about the son of a former Glens Falls coaching legend with an extensive background as a player, coach, and scout?
The name Dineen is very well known in the Glens Falls region, thanks to former legendary Red Wings coach Bill Dineen, whose name now hangs in a banner in the Cool Insuring Arena’s rafters, and the road outside the entrance to the building now bears his name. His son Pete will now continue the coaching tradition in the North Country as Loh’s associate coach. The younger Dineen brings quite the resume to the table: 25 years as a professional scout for five different NHL teams, three years as head coach for the IHL’s Houston Aeros in the mid-1990’s, and a 11 year playing career in the AHL, IHL, and NHL. He was a member of the Adirondack Red Wings’ 1989 Calder Cup champion squad.
As we get closer to training camp, I’ll have player capsules coming up. So far the Thunder have nine forwards and three defensemen under contract, with six of those players returning to the team, two after a one year layoff.