Gerard Gallant said he was surprised when he was fired by the Vegas Golden Knights but made it clear wants to coach again in the NHL.
"I was disappointed and surprised, but I understand the hockey business and things have to change sometimes," he told the Journal Pioneer of Summerside, Prince Edward Island, on Saturday. "They made a tough decision, and I'm sure it was tough on them, but that's the way hockey is.
"I was an All-Star coach a week and a half ago, and we were in first place in our division, and then things change and we lost four in a row. They made a decision, it isn't too popular with me, but it is what it is, and you have to move on."
Gallant, who coached the Columbus Blue Jackets from 2003-06 and the Florida Panthers from 2014-16 before being hired by Vegas on April 13, 2017, said he will coach again.
"I'm not going to worry about the past," the 56-year-old said. "I'm going to look at the future, and that's what you have to do as a coach.
"I'm far from done. I enjoy coaching."
Video: Golden Knights fire coach Gerard Gallant
Gallant, a Summerside native who guided the Golden Knights to the 2018 Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season and to the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, was fired along with assistant Mike Kelly on Wednesday after Vegas (24-19-6) had lost its previous four games. The Golden Knights are 1-0-1 under his replacement, Peter DeBoer, who coached the San Jose Sharks to a victory against Vegas in the Western Conference First Round last season but was fired last month.
Gallant said he never saw the change coming.
"I was quite surprised actually when it happened," Gallant told the paper. "You don't see something coming like that when you have 2 1/2 years in."
Gallant had been named to coach the Pacific Division team for the 2020 Honda NHL All-Star Game in St. Louis on Jan. 25 (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS) after guiding the Golden Knights to a .591 winning percentage (23-15-6) as of Jan. 2. Rick Tocchet of the Arizona Coyotes was named Thursday as his replacement.
"I talked to the NHL about it and they sort of left it up to me, but I didn't really feel comfortable [going]," Gallant said. "I just said I'd sooner pass."
Gallant was voted winner of the Jack Adams Award as the best coach in the NHL in 2017-18 after guiding the expansion Golden Knights to the Pacific Division championship. They won three playoff series before losing in five games to the Washington Capitals in the Cup Final.
"The 2 1/2 years were incredible," Gallant said. "That first year was a magical season. If we could have capped it off winning the Stanley Cup it would have been incredible. The second year was a really good year too. We made the playoffs, battled hard.
"Up until I got fired, I had 2 1/2 years of being really happy in Vegas."