Golden Knights get their man, tab Gallant first head coach
Last month, the Vegas Golden Knights signed their first player in Western Hockey League standout Reid Duke.
This month, the new NHL team finally has a head coach.
On April 13, the club announced that former Florida Panthers and Columbus Blue Jackets head coach and Montreal Canadiens and New York Islanders assistant coach Gerard Gallant will be behind the bench for the inaugural 2017-18 season.
“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,” said Vegas GM George McPhee. “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,” added 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.”
During his first season behind Florida’s bench in 2014-15, Gallant guided the Panthers to a 38-29-15 record and 91 points, a 25-point improvement from the previous season. In his second season, Gallant helped lead the Panthers to 103 points and a first-place regular-season finish in the Atlantic Division. He was named a Jack Adams Award finalist (coach of the year) for his efforts.