It’s been four days since Gerard Gallant and his assistant Mike Kelly were relieved of their duties by the Vegas Golden Knights. It surprised many in the hockey world, especially after Peter DeBoer – who was let go by the San Jose Sharks earlier this season – was appointed as Gallant’s replacement.
The 56-year-old was equally shocked by the decision.
“I was quite surprised, actually, when it happened,” Gallant said to the Journal Pioneer on Saturday evening. “You don’t see something coming like that when you have two-and-a-half years in.
“I was disappointed and surprised, but I understand the hockey business and things have to change sometimes. They made a tough decision and I’m sure it was tough on them, but that’s the way hockey is.”
Gallant was appointed as the Golden Knights’ first-ever head coach in April 2017. He ended up guiding Vegas to the Stanley Cup final in its inaugural NHL season before losing to the Washington Capitals in five games. The former winger posted a 118-75-20 regular season record in 213 games with the franchise.
This wasn’t Gallant’s first unceremonious firing of his coaching career, either. He was let go by the Florida Panthers in 2016 and the events that transpired afterwards were bizarre, to say the least.
Like any coach, Gallant is ready to dust himself off and get right back to what he enjoys doing.
“I’m far from done,” Gallant said. “If an opportunity comes up I will definitely look at it – myself and Mike. Mike is a big part of what I do, too, and sometimes people forget about the assistant coaches. Mike is a good man, we have been together for a long time.”
The Golden Knights are now 1-0-1 under DeBoer, Gallant’s successor, after losing 5-4 in a shootout to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.