Photo credit Vegas Golden Knights
There is a lot of excitement in the air in the world of hockey as the new expansion team, the Vegas Golden Knights, prepare to debut their 2017-18 season this October. As NHL history unravels itself in Las Vegas, we have Coach Gerard Gallant getting the team geared up for game time.
Gallant, better known as “Turk,” brings a lot of experience to the game. Born in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, his passion for hockey started at a young age. Gallant played 11 NHL seasons for Detroit from 1984-1993 and Tampa Bay from 1993-1995 with his most successful year in 1988-1989, when he was selected as a NHL Second Team All-Star. “As a former player, I feel I can connect with my team on a different level,” noted Gallant.
I’m very proud to be the first head coach of the Vegas Golden Knights, and I’m looking forward to that opportunity. -Gerard Gallant, Vegas Golden Knights Head Coach
He began his coaching career in 1995-1996 with the Summerside Capitals of the Maritime Junior Hockey League leading the team to the Royal Bank Cup in 1997 and served as the head coach of the Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League from 2009-2012. Later, he became assistant coach with the Montreal Canadiens from 2012-2014. Gallant was rewarded Canadian Hockey League Coach of the Year twice in 2010 and 2011.
At the international level, Gallant served as 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.
Gallant joined the Golden Knights after his most recent head coach position with the Florida Panthers, where he guided the Panthers to a 25-point improvement from the previous season. In his second season, Gallant helped lead the Panthers to a first-place regular season finish in the Atlantic Division and was awarded Jack Adams finalist (coach of the year) for his efforts.
It might be too soon to predict playoffs for the Vegas Golden Knights, as the expansion team builds stamina. Per Gallant, “As coach, you can’t look long-term; you just have to look at the next day and get better every day. We are going to work hard, we are going to build a strong organization, a strong hockey team here in Las Vegas.” One thing is for sure, Gallant’s experience can help navigate the team to victory. “I’ve been involved in an expansion team before with Columbus and it was a great experience, and I’m looking forward to the same thing here.”
There is a lot of preparation ahead for the Vegas Golden Knights as preseason games start early this month. “We’re going to have a great hockey team and I think the fans are going to be very excited to see our product,” said Gallant.
You can catch the Vegas Golden Knights in action in Las Vegas at T-Mobile Arena.
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