Florida Panthers Executive Vice President and General Manager Dale Tallon announced today that Gerard Gallant has been named the club’s new head coach.
“We are pleased to welcome Gerard as the new head coach of the Florida Panthers,” said Tallon. “He is an individual with tremendous character, integrity and a strong passion for the game and has experience as an NHL head coach. Gerard is an excellent teacher and motivator who possesses the leadership qualities and hockey knowledge that are necessary to lead our team.”
Gallant, 50, who at one time was the head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets, spent the last two years (2012-2014) serving 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, 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).
Florida Panthers F Jonathan Huberdeau played all three years under Gallant and served as team captain of the Sea Dogs during the 2011-2012 season. Other NHL players who previously played for Gallant in Saint John include Montreal D Nathan Beaulieu, Minnesota F Charlie Coyle and Detroit F Tomas Jurco, all of whom played in the 2014 NHL postseason.
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 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.
Gallant and his wife Pam, are the parents of two children, Melissa and Jason.
Gallant will be introduced to the media at a press conference on Monday, June 23, at BB&T Center.