The Las Vegas Golden Knights held a press conference today at noon PT with their Chairman and CEO Bill Foley, McPhee and Gallant at the press conference.
Here is a quote from it
“We are proud to announce Gerard as the first head coach in Vegas Golden Knights history,” said Vegas Golden Knights General Manager George McPhee. “He is an experienced head coach, has had success at multiple levels and has a great reputation amongst the players who have played for him. We undertook a very detailed due diligence process over the last several months and canvassed a number of qualified head coaching candidates to ensure we found the best coach for our group. And we believe we have found that coach in Gerard. We look forward to working with him to build a team that our fans and our community are proud to support.”
“Being named the first head coach in Vegas Golden Knights history is such a tremendous opportunity and one I am extremely grateful for,” said Vegas Golden Knights Head Coach Gerard Gallant. “There is a great deal of excitement in the hockey community regarding what is happening with the Golden Knights and I am glad to now be a part of the team. We have a state-of-the-art practice facility being constructed, a world class home arena and from what I’ve heard, a very passionate and engaged fan base. I look forward to seeing that enthusiasm first hand and will work with George and the rest of the hockey operations staff to ice a team that Golden Knights fans will be proud to support.”
Here is a short clip from the press conference where Gallant talks a bit about the kind of coach and person he is.
Gerard Gallant shares what he hopes to establish as the Golden Knights' team culture. pic.twitter.com/wWH1091uzp
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) April 13, 2017
Another thing that we learned in this press conference is that Gallant is going to be in charge of filling out the rest of the coaching staff. McPhee is confident in Gallants ability to do this as well. Here is another tweet with another quote from the press conference
"He's going to hire the guys he needs to succeed." – McPhee on Gallant and hiring the rest of the Golden Knights' coaching staff.
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) April 13, 2017
Gallant most recently coached the Florida Panthers. in the 2014-2015 season, Gallant helped to lead the Panthers to a 38-29-15 record that had the team finish with 91 points. This was a massive 25 point improvement from the previous season before Gallant took over. The second season that Gallant was the head coach of the Panthers he helped to lead the team to a 103 point season and an Atlantic Division title. He was named a finalist in the voting for the Jack Adams award that season for his impressive work he put in with the Panthers that season. The Jack Adams award is given to the coach voted to be the best of the season in the NHL.
Gallant also has some experience on the international stage as well as a coach. He was a member of the team Canada Gold Medal winning coaching staff in the 2007 IIHF World Championship and he more recently was named to the coaching staff for the upcoming 2017 World Championship. He has also worked as an assistant coach for the Team North America during the World Cup of Hockey this last year in 2016 in Toronto. Team North America was filled with tons of top young players from North America and played a very exciting fast paced up and down style. They were in your face on defense and as soon as they got the puck turned over they were flying up the ice.
In 2012-2014 Gallant spent two seasons as the assistant coach with the Montreal Canadiens. In those two seasons, he helped the team to get to the postseason each season, including in 2014 when they went all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals. During the two years that he was an assistant coach with the Habs, they put up a 75-42-13 record including their first 100 point season since the 2007-2008 season.
Gallant spent three seasons from 2009-2012 as the head coach of the Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey league. During his time with the Sea Dogs, the team put up a record of 159-34-9 and the team was lead by Gallant to three straight first-place finishes. Three league final appearances and back to back QMJHL championships in 2011 and 2012 and one memorial cup in 2011. He was named the QMJHL and Canadian Hockey League coach of the year twice in 2010 and in 2011 in that time as well.
Gallant was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in the 6th round 107th overall in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft. he appeared in 615 games for the Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning. he was able to score 211 goals and 269 assists for a total of 480 points over his career. He also put up 1,674 penalty minutes. He put up four 70+ point seasons and his highest scoring year he was able to put up a career high 93 points comprised of 39 goals 54 assists and he was named as a Second Team NHL All-star.
Some Fun Facts
Gallant also coached the Atlantic Division in 2016 All-Star Game in Nashville. This will be the second expansion team situation that Gallant will be involved with as he was also an assistant coach with the Columbus Blue Jackets the team’s first season in 2000-2001. As a player, Gallant scored 30 or more goals in a season five times. He primarily played on a line with Steve Yzerman and Paul MacLean when he was with the Detroit Red Wings. Gallant has had a variety of nicknames over the years but two of them were “Spuddy” as a player. This was based on his home province’s reputation as the potato capital of Canada. Right now it’s more common to hear him being called “Turk” as a nickname.
I am pretty excited that the team has decided to go this direction for their first ever Head Coach of the franchise. I think that Gallant has all the tools and experience necessary to go into this offseason and then the first season with the Golden Knights and help to guide and develop the young players that they will have moving forward. While most are not predicting much for the Golden Knights out of their first season in the NHL I honestly would not be surprised to see them be able to put out a fairly competitive team in this first season. Due to the new expansion draft rules and the numerous options that are available for GM George Mcphee I would not be surprised to see him be able to put together a very competent young team with a few solid veterans to help guide and develop the young kids that they are planning on building around long term as well.
The Vegas Knights coming to the NHL is something that all NHL fans and players are excited and nervously awaiting to see what happens. This expansion draft is going to affect many people across our entire league and many fans. This is something unlike most of us current hockey fans have ever been able to be a part of or witness as it was happening. There are many who have been around for the last NHL expansion as well, but for the younger fans, this is truly a unique chance and opportunity for them to see how things all end up working out.
I hope that you are all excited for the coming offseason and expansion draft/player moves and other personnel hirings to come for the Golden Knights. Please stay tuned to Puck Planet for any future news announcements and thoughts and analysis. We will be bringing you great Vegas Knights coverage as we move forward.
What do you think?
Do you think this was a solid signing for the franchise first head coach? Is there another coach you think would do a better job? Let us know what your thoughts are in the comments below and I would love to continue the discussion with you there in the future!
Have a great day everyone and #LetsGoVegas!