Gallant named first head coach of Golden Knights

With its inaugural season in the National Hockey League just six months away, the Vegas Golden Knights have decided on the man to coach them for their milestone campaign.

Gerard Gallant, a finalist for the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year last spring after leading the Florida Panthers to the Stanley Cup playoffs while also setting team records for wins (47) and points (103), will be introduced at a press conference at the T-Mobile Center on Thursday. The team officially announced the move on its Twitter account on Thursday morning.

Gallant was fired on Nov. 25th after the injury-plagued Panthers sputtered to a 11-10-1 record. Florida, which was just two points out of a playoff spot at the time of Gallant’s firing, would go on to finish sixth in the Atlantic Division with 81 points, 14 points behind fourth place Toronto which earned the final playoff berth.

“I love Turk,” Florida forward Vincent Trocheck, calling Gallant by his nickname, told after the firing. “Great guy. Great coach for me. I don’t know. Can’t control what goes on with management and the coaching staff. It just kind of … You’ve got to go out there and perform. We didn’t perform enough for him.”

Gallant, 53, finished with a 96-54-25 record in his two-plus seasons with Florida and led the Panthers to the 2016 Atlantic Division title. He also coached three seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets where he compiled a 56-76-4 mark.

Gallant played 11 seasons as a left wing with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, scoring 211 goals and racking up 1,674 penalty minutes while earning a reputation as one of the NHL’s better fighters.

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