With the promotion of Binghamton Devils head coach Rick Kowalsky to the New Jersey Devils assistant position, the AHL club was looking for a new bench boss. And it did not take them too long. Mark Dennehy, former Merrimack College coach, was named to the position yesterday.
Dennehy had taken a job with the ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers (Pittsburgh’s affiliate) earlier this off season, but did decide to accept the Devils job when offered. The AHL is a higher level of hockey than the ECHL, so that might have factored into the decision.
New Jersey assistant GM and Binghamton GM Tom Fitzgerald thanked “Jim Rutherford, Bill Guerin, the Penguins’ organization and the Wheeling Nailers ownership group for the opportunity to speak with Mark on this position.”
Dennehy, according to the Binghamton press release, is 50 years old and coached at Merrimack for 13 seasons. He earned 161 wins with the Warriors with 2010-11 being his most successful season. They notched 25 wins that season and made it “to the Hockey East Final and the NCAA Regionals.” Dennehy also won the Bob Kullen Coach of the Year Award as Hockey East’s best that season. The press release also mentioned that he coached Devils prospect Brett Seney while at Merrimack.
The Dorchester, Massachusetts native played four years at Boston College from 1987 to 1991 as a defenseman and then played professionally one year with the Ayr Raiders of the British Hockey League in 1991-92. Following his playing career, he coached at UMass-Amherst as an assistant in 1995-96 and again from 2000 to 2005. In between, He spent two seasons at Princeton University from 1997-98 to 1998-99 as an assistant and then took a head coaching job at Fairfield University for a year in 1999-2000. He began his head coaching duties at Merrimack in 2005-06. He was relieved of his coaching duties following this past season.
He will next head to Slovakia this week as coach of Team USA Under-17 Select Team at the Five Nations Tournament according to the press release.
Fitzgerald said: “Mark has spent considerable time building, coaching and recruiting in one of college hockey’s most competitive conferences. His experience will help him connect with players coming from the collegiate and junior hockey levels. Mark is extremely excited for a new challenge and to take the next step in his coaching career.”