SUNRISE, Fla. – Florida Panthers Executive Vice President and General Manager Dale Tallon announced today that the Panthers have agreed to terms on a multi-year contract extension with Head Coach Gerard Gallant. As per club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.
“We are pleased to agree with Gerard on a multi-year extension,” Tallon said. “He has done an excellent job of creating a winning culture and developing our young players in his time with the Panthers. He is an ideal fit for our group and we look forward to having him lead our team as we work towards our goal of winning the Stanley Cup.”
Currently in his second season as Head Coach of the Panthers, Gallant led Florida to its most successful month in franchise history in December recording a 11-3-0 record and 22 points, while tying a franchise record with a seven-game winning streak. The Panthers currently are second in the Atlantic Division, fourth in the Eastern Conference and own a 21-12-4 record (46 points).
“I’m thrilled to be signing an extension with the Panthers,” Gallant said. “I want to thank our owner Vinnie Viola and his partner Doug Cifu for the confidence they have placed in me and their continued support. We’ve started to build a strong foundation with a great staff and group of players here in Florida. We want to continue to build on the recent success we’ve had and create a winning team for years to come.”
The 52-year-old, Summerside, Prince Edward Island native was hired by Florida on June 21, 2014. During his first season behind the bench the Panthers were the most improved team in the NHL. Gallant guided the Panthers to a 38-29-15 record and 91 points, a 25-point improvement from the club’s previous season.
Prior to his time in Florida, Gallant spent two seasons serving as an assistant coach with the Montreal Canadiens (2012-2014), 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 its 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, two 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).
Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau played all three years under Gallant and served as team captain of the Sea Dogs during the 2011-2012 season.
Gallant served as head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets 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.
Gallant was selected by Detroit 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 480 points (211-269-480) 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.