Person of Interest: Who is coach Dave Cameron?

Senators GM Bryan Murray tells the Ottawa media what went wrong behind the bench for Paul MacLean, says he became more demanding and critical of the players, and in the end we’re all judged by wins and losses.

Dave Cameron landed himself a sweet promotion Monday when Paul MacLean was relieved of his duties as head coach of the Ottawa Senators.

The former assistant coach became the 10th head coach of the Ottawa Senators, team general manager Bryan Murray announced Monday. It is Cameron’s his first gig as an NHL bench boss.

Here, in brief, is what you need to know about Dave Cameron.

Age: 56
Hometown: Kildare Capes, P.E.I.
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 185 pounds

The Senators know what they’re getting
Even before joining the Senators coaching staff as an assistant in 2011-12, Cameron served as head coach for the club’s AHL affiliate in Binghamton for three seasons (2004-05 to 2006-07).

Murray said Monday that Cameron was one of five finalists for the head coaching job back when it was given to MacLean.

He knows more than just hockey
Cameron holds a business degree from the University of Prince Edward Island. He worked at a young offenders’ facility in P.E.I. and later became a high school guidance counsellor.

Cameron has a national experience he’ll never forget
Murray praised Cameron’s work with young players and his ability to teach. In his highest-profile gig as a head coach, Cameron led Team Canada’s under-20s to a silver medal in the 2011 world junior championships.

Russian fans remember that gold medal game fondly. Cameron’s squad held a 3-0 lead ending into the third period, before the Russian squad stormed back with five unanswered goals and seized gold from Canada’s grasp.

Yeah, great. But has he played the game?
Indeed. Drafted in the eighth round (No. 135 overall) by the New York Islanders in 1978, Cameron skated at centre for the Colorado Rockies and New Jersey Devils, scoring 25 goals with 28 assists and racking up a hefty 238 penalty minutes.

After his best NHL campaign — 23 points in 66 games for the Rockies in 1981 — Cameron went to the CHL’s Wichita Wind. He returned to the big league for three seasons with the Devils. His playing days as a pro essentialy ended after the 1984-85 season, when he split time between the AHL’s Main Mariners and Moncton Golden Flames.

A full decade later, Cameron made a one-game comeback for the Saint John Flames in 1994-95.

The Islanders can thank him for Pat LaFontaine
With Cameron coming off a breakout, 40-goal season with the CHL’s Indianapolis Checkers, the Islanders sold high on their prospect, exchanging Cameron and Bob Lorimer to the Rockies for Colorado’s first-round draft pick in 1983.

New York used that pick to select the fantastic LaFontaine, the most productive American-born player ever: 1.17 points per game.

Cameron has paid his dues, big time
Cameron got his coaching start in the Colonial Hockey League, hopping behind the bench for the Detroit Falcons in 1995-96 and following the relocating club to Port Huron in 1996-97.

He then moved to a more high-profile circuit, the Ontario Hockey League, where he coached the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds for two seasons. After a one-year stint in the AHL as an assistant with the St. John’s Maple Leafs, Cameron coached the Toronto’s St. Michael’s Majors for four seasons, posting winning records from 2000-01 through 2003-04.

Cameron’s greatest OHL run, however, took place between 2007-08 and 2010-11, when his 53-13 Mississauga Majors went deeper in the post-season each year, before losing in the 2011 final to Owen Sound.

The Majors were the first sports team owned by Senators owner Eugene Melnyk.

Lucky, he’s a family guy
Cameron and his wife, Kelly, have two boys, Connor and Ben. They live in Stittsville, Ont., a 10-minute drive from the Canadian Tire Centre.

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