VEGAS - April 13, 2017 - Vegas Golden Knights General Manager George McPhee announced today, April 13, that the team has hired Gerard Gallant as the club's first head coach in team history. Golden Knights Chairman and CEO Bill Foley, McPhee and Gallant will hold a press conference on Thursday, April 13 at T-Mobile Arena at 12 noon PT. Information on the press conference can be found below.
"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."
Gallant joins the Golden Knights after his most recent head coaching tenure with the Florida Panthers. 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.
At the international level, he was part of Team Canada's Gold Medal-winning coaching staff at the 2007 IIHF World Championship and was recently named to Team Canada's coaching staff for the upcoming 2017 World Championship. He also served as an assistant coach for Team North America during the 2016 World Cup of Hockey in Toronto.
Prior to joining the Panthers, Gallant spent two seasons (2012-2014) as an assistant coach with the Montreal Canadiens, helping the team advance to the postseason each year, including the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals. During his two years as an assistant coach, Montreal posted a 75-42-13 mark, including their first 100-point season since 2007-2008.
Before coaching in Montreal, Gallant spent three seasons (2009-2012) as the head coach of the Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). During his three seasons with Saint John, he compiled a 159-34- 9 record and led the Sea Dogs to three first-place finishes, three league final appearances, back-to-back QMJHL championships (2011 & 2012) and one Memorial Cup (2011). Gallant was also named the QMJHL and Canadian Hockey League Coach of the Year twice (2010 & 2011).
Gallant served as head coach of Columbus for parts of three seasons (2003-2004 & 2005-2007), after serving as an assistant with the Blue Jackets (2000-2003). He also was an assistant with the New York Islanders (2007-2009), the International Hockey League's Fort Wayne Komets (1998-1999) and the American Hockey League's Louisville Panthers (1999-2000). Gallant began his coaching career in 1995-1996 with the Summerside Capitals of the Maritime Junior Hockey League (MJrHL) leading the team to the Royal Bank Cup in 1997.
A native of Summerside, P.E.I, Gallant was selected by the Detroit Red Wings in the sixth round (107th overall) in the 1981 NHL Draft. He played in 615 NHL games for Detroit (1984-1993) and Tampa Bay (1993-1995) registering 211 goals and 269 assists for 480 points and 1,674 penalty minutes. Gallant recorded four 70-plus point seasons, including his most successful year in 1988-1989 when he registered a career high 93 points (39-54-93) and was selected as a NHL Second Team All-Star.
He and his wife Pam have two children, daughter Melissa and son Jason.