Gerard Gallant will be Vegas Golden Knights’ first head coach

The Vegas Golden Knights have their first head coach in franchise history, and it’s Gerard Gallant.

Owner Bill Foley had announced a press conference for Thursday at T-Mobile Arena in Vegas. Speculation was that their first coach would be revealed. But Canadian media like Darren Dreger of TSN reported en masse that the coach would be Gallant.

“I can’t comment on that,” Foley told the Review Journal.

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Gallant, 53, has had what you’d call an interesting season. He led the Florida Panthers to the Atlantic Division title in 2015-16, but was fired just 21 games into this season due to behind the scenes tension with the team’s changing management.

He was expected to be a hot coaching candidate as several NHL team announced vacancies. He was very much in the mix for the Dallas Stars job before Ken Hitchcock returned to Dallas to fill it.

Instead, Gallant heads to Vegas as the Golden Knights’ first coach.

He’s 152-140-31 with four ties as a head coach with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Florida Panthers. Gallant played 615 games in the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning. He was a contemporary of both GM George McPhee and Murray Craven, the Golden Knights’ vice president.

Foley said in January that it was “50/50” the team would have its first head coach before the end of the season. At the time, beat writer Steve Carp believed that timetable was related to the availability of Gallant.

Said Foley on the team’s first head coach, and what he needs to be:

McPhee infamously never hired a coach with previous NHL coaching experience while general manager with the Washington Capitals, but he said an experienced coach was a probability in Vegas.

“In many positions, you’re better the second time around. We value experience. We just don’t know where this is going to end up. If there’s a terrific up and comer, he’ll certainly be a candidate. But in most of the hiring we’ve done here, it’s been experienced people,” he said last year.

So will Gallant be even better in his third NHL job? It’s solid hire. He’s the right age to coach a collection of vets and newbies. He’s a guy the players relate to, and he’s a coach that can grow with a team. And he joins an impressive hockey brain-trust in Vegas.

But seriously, Gerard: If things go sideways, grab and Uber or Lyft. We’ve lost more money in Vegas cabs than we have at craps.

Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.