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Gerard Gallant: 10 Fun Facts

Get to know the first head coach in Golden Knights history

by Dan Marrazza @GoldenKnights / VegasGoldenKnights.com

As this winter has transpired and rumors have abounded of who'd be hired as the first head coach of the Golden Knights, Gerard Gallant's name has been a popular one in NHL circles.

After all, that Gallant was dismissed from the Florida Panthers in November after being nominated for the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's top coach as recently as last year made his availability a pleasant surprise, if not a downright shock.

RELATED: What style coach is Gerard Gallant?

For many hockey fans, Gallant's primarily remembered for his brief run with the Florida Panthers. This is despite a long, distinguished career as both a player and coach and more than 33 years in professional hockey.

Here are 10 other things to know about Gallant's career.

RELATED: Who were other NHL teams' first coaches?

1. Was nominated for the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's coach of the year following the 2015-16 season, when he led the Panthers to a franchise-record 103 points and an Atlantic Division title.

2. Coached the Atlantic Division at the 2016 NHL All-Star Game in Nashville.

3. The Panthers were the second NHL team that Gallant has coached. He previously served as head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets from midway through the 2003-04 season until 2006-07, previously joining Columbus as an assistant coach in the team's first season as an expansion team, 2000-01.

4. Between his NHL head coaching stints, he was as an assistant coach with the New York Islanders, and head coach of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Saint John Sea Dogs. He also later was an assistant coach with Montreal Canadiens.

5. Gallant won the Canadian Hockey League's Coach of the Year Award in both 2010 and 2011 in Saint John, winning the Memorial Cup in 2011. Gallant's Sea Dogs made it to the QMJHL championship in all three season he coached the team, bookending its Memorial Cup in 2011 with a QMJHL title in 2012 and an appearance in the 2010 QMJHL Final.

 

Watch: Youtube Video

 

6. The top player on Gallant's Sea Dogs teams was Jonathan Huberdeau, the No. 3 overall NHL Draft pick that he later coached with the Florida Panthers. Other current NHL players to be developed by Gallant in Saint John include Mike Hoffman (Ottawa), Charlie Coyle (Minnesota), Simon Despres (Anaheim), Nathan Beaulieu (Montreal) and Tomas Jurco (Chicago).

His work with the Sea Dogs helped earn him a 2014 induction into the QMJHL Hall of Fame.

 

Watch: Youtube Video

 

7. As a player, he was predominantly a Detroit Red Wing, although he finished his career with the Tampa Bay Lightning during some of that club's expansion seasons from 1993-95. With Detroit, he scored 30 or more goals in a season five times, mostly lining up on the left wing on a line with Steve Yzerman and Paul MacLean.

 

Tweet from @BradGalli: Steve Yzerman wearing the Red Wings No. 19 one last time at Joe Louis Arena. pic.twitter.com/dkxCF8VT3m

 

8. Despite only standing 5-foot-10, Gallant was a fiery competitor, known as one of the top pugilists of a brutal era in hockey where the Red Wings' Norris Division was nicknamed the "Chuck Norris Division." In fact, Gallant racked up more than 200 penalty minutes in four of the seasons he scored 30 or more goals.

9. A native of Summerside, Prince Edward Island, his nickname in his early NHL seasons was "Spuddy," based on his home province's reputation as the potato capital of Canada. Although now, "Turk" is Gallant's more common nickname.

In his early years in Summerside, he often attended hockey schools run by local product Doug MacLean, whom served as Red Wings assistant coach late in Gallant's playing career. As the first-ever general manager of the Columbus Blue Jackets, MacLean hired Gallant into his first NHL coaching job.

 

Watch: Youtube Video

 

10. Has several connections in the Golden Knights organization:

-Senior Vice President Murray Craven and Gallant were never NHL teammates, but were Detroit Red Wings prospects at the same time during the early 1980s. Detroit drafted Gallant in 1981 and Craven in 1983.

-Director of Amateur Scouting Scott Luce was both Director of Scouting and Director of Player Personnel for the Florida Panthers when Gallant was the team's head coach.

-Amateur Scout Erin Ginnell was Director of Amateur Scouting with the Panthers when Gallant was Florida's head coach.

-Pro scout Kelly Kisio and Gallant were teammates with the Detroit Red Wings from 1983-86.

-Was teammates with assistant general manager Kelly McCrimmon's brother, Brad, with Detroit from 1990-93.

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