The Adirondack Thunder want to take a step back in time Saturday, after they hope to have taken a step forward Friday.
Saturday’s game against Norfolk is Bill Dineen Night. It will be the second tribute to the late, longtime Adirondack Red Wings coach this year. The street and plaza in front of Cool Insuring Arena was renamed Bill Dineen Way in August.
On Saturday night, the Thunder will wear red jerseys with their logo on the front, but everything else will be in the style of the Red Wings jerseys. Also, all the nameplates will have Dineen on them. At about 6:55 p.m., a ceremony will be held with video tributes to Dineen. Afterward, a banner with Dineen’s name will be revealed and raised to the rafters.
The Dineen jerseys will be auctioned off following the game.
According to Zach Dooley, the director of communications and community relations, most of Dineen’s children will be in attendance, and others will have video tributes.
Dineen coached Adirondack from 1983 to 1989. He won two Calder Cups (1986, 1989) and was the AHL’s Coach of the Year twice. He settled his family in the Glens Falls area during his time here. He is a member of several halls of fame, including a charter member of the Adirondack Hockey Hall of Fame.
Thunder head coach Brad Tapper never met Dineen, but has met his five sons and has known his son Gord, currently an assistant with the Rochester Americans, for several years.
“As for Bill Dineen, what can you say about the man? He’s got a street named after him, won two Calder Cups … he left some big shoes to fill,” Tapper said.
Before that, however, the Thunder host Reading on Friday, and the Royals have been a thorn in Adirondack’s side this season.
The Thunder enter this weekend on a two-game win streak, having defeated Worcester and Brampton last weekend. The Royals, however, have won all five of their games against Adirondack.
“Whenever you can compete against someone who’s knocked you down, it’s exciting,” Tapper said. “We won last week because when we had a number of guys called up, we had other guys step up. We’re in the same situation, so we’ll need it again.”
The temptation when playing a team that’s gotten the better of you is to try to do a little something extra, but it’s exactly what Tapper doesn’t want to see.
“Don’t overthink the ice, don’t overthink the small areas,” Tapper said. “If we can play a simple game and just do what we need to, we’ll be all right.”
NOTES: The Syracuse Crunch, of the AHL, returned one player back to the Thunder on Thursday, as they loaned forward Shane Conacher back. Conacher has three goals and 15 assists in 16 games with the Thunder. He has appeared in two games with the Crunch. ... Defenseman Kevin Lough, in his debut with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves on Wednesday, delivered two assists in the Wolves’ 3-1 win over San Diego. Lough had played the entire season with the Thunder until his call-up Tuesday.