This was not the way Peter Horachek wanted to realize a long-term goal to become a head coach in the NHL, but he'll take it.

Horachek, 53, became the Panthers' 12th coach Friday morning when General Manager Dale Tallon fired Kevin Dineen in an attempt to stem the hemorrhaging of a disastrous 3-9-4 start that includes a current seven-game losing streak.

He's the third consecutive first-time NHL head coach hired by the Panthers, including Dineen and Pete DeBoer.

"I've always wanted to do [this]," said Horachek, who's married to Stacy, with son, Cullen. "When you grow up playing and turn to the coaching ranks that's the next step, where you always want to get to.

"My stint as an NHL assistant coach was very exciting for me, coaching the best players in the world. … But when somebody gets fired, quality guys like Kevin, Gord, Rammer, that's what bothers me the most."

The purge included assistant coaches Gord Murphy, who also worked in the previous regime under DeBoer, and assistant Craig Ramsay. All, like Dineen, were in the final year of their contracts.

Horachek, an Ontario native, was an assistant for the Nashville Predators from 2003-11 and associate head coach from 2011-13.