Canada tap Kineen to coach women`s Olympic team

Toronto: Kevin Dineen, sacked by the NHL`s Florida Panthers last month, will coach Canada`s women`s ice hockey team at the Sochi Olympics, Hockey Canada announced on Tuesday.

Dineen, 50, takes over from Dan Church, who resigned suddenly last week less than two months before the Winter Games, where Canada`s women will be vying for a fourth straight Olympic gold.

Church said he thought there was a lack of confidence in his ability to guide the team to gold.

"This is a critical time for Canada`s National Women`s Team with the start of the Olympics less than two months away, and we feel Kevin is a terrific fit with our staff as we get ready for Sochi," said Melody Davidson, general manager of female national teams with Hockey Canada. "His experience, both on the ice and behind the bench, will be invaluable over the coming weeks."

It`s a first international coaching job for the 50-year-old Dineen, a former player who played for five NHL teams from 1984-2002, scoring 355 goals and adding 405 assists.

The Toronto native represented Canada six times, winning World Championships silver in 1985 and 1989 and appearing in the Olympics in 1984.

Canada`s final women`s ice hockey roster for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games will include 21 players, including three goaltenders.

They open their Olympic campaign on February 8 against Switzerland.