LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Former Vegas Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant said he was surprised he and his assistant coach, Mike Kelly, were fired last week, according to The Journal Pioneer. The report came from the former Golden Knights coach’s hometown newspaper in Prince Edward Island, Canada.
Gallant told the Journal Pioneer that he did not see the change coming.
“I was quite surprised actually when it happened,” Gallant told the Journal Pioneer. “You don’t see something coming like that when you have 2 ½ years in.”
Gallant was fired on Wednesday by the Golden Knights. At the same time, the organization announced the hiring of former San Jose Sharks coach Peter DeBoer.
“In order for our team to reach its full potential, we determined a coaching change was necessary. Our team is capable of more than we have demonstrated this season,” said Vegas Golden Knights General Manager Kelly McCrimmon.
Gallant went on to tell the Journal Pioneer reporter that he was disappointed in the coaching change, but understands how the NHL works.
“They made a tough decision and I’m sure it was tough on them, but that’s the way hockey is,” Gallant said.
According to the report, Gallant says he still wants to coach and plans on looking into coaching opportunities if they arise.
The Journal Pioneer’s piece also mentioned the effect former VGK assistant coach Mike Kelly has had on Gallant and his coaching career, saying he hopes something comes up for the both of them.
“Mike and I are tied at the hip they might say and we are pretty close. We’ve worked together the last number of years together,” Gallant told the reporter.
The Journal Pioneer says Gallant made the decision to not go to the NHL All-Star Weekend, after being named head coach of the Pacific Division for the event on Jan. 24-25.
“I talked to the NHL about it and they sort of left it up to me, but I didn’t really feel comfortable (going),” Gallant told the Journal Pioneer. “I just said I’d sooner pass.”
The NHL named Arizona Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet as Gallant’s replacement for the event.
“I’m not going to worry about the past. I’m going to look at the future and that’s what you have to do as a coach,” Gallant said.
To read to full article from the Journal Pioneer, click here.