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8/4/2006 1:31:08 PM

Eric Weinrich is trading in his hockey stick for a clipboard and a whistle.

The 40 year old defenseman is expected to join Kevin Dineen's coaching staff on the AHL's Portland Pirates after almost two decades in the NHL.

"Having a guy with his kind of experience on board will do nothing but help the young defensemen we have on our team," Dineen tells the Portland Press Herald. "Once he sets foot in the dressing room his kind of demeanor is the right kind of fit to help these guys maximize their potential."

Weinrich would not comment on the report but a formal announcement regarding the Pirates coaching situation is expected to be made on Monday.

Weinrich started last season with the St. Louis Blues before being acquired by the Vancouver Canucks at the NHL trade deadline for the final 16 games of the regular season. He had 1 goal and 16 assists and was a -23 on defense.

Weinrich began his NHL career in New Jersey before making stops in Hartford, Chicago, Montreal, Boston and Philadelphia. In 1,157 regular-season games, the former second round draft pick of the Devils scored 70 goals and 318 assists. In 81 playoff games, he scored six goals and had 23 assists.
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