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Gerard Gallant
Gerard gallant.jpg
Born September 2, 1963 (1963-09-02) (age 55)
Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight 190 lb (86 kg; 13 st 8 lb)
Position Left Wing
Shoots Left
National team Flag of Canada.svg Canada
NHL Draft 107th overall, 1981
Detroit Red Wings
Playing career 1984–1995

Gerard Gallant (born on September 2, 1963) is a Canadian ice hockey coach and former player who is currently the first ever head coach for the Vegas Golden Knights of the National Hockey League (NHL).

Playing CareerEdit

Early Playing CareerEdit

While playing for the Summerside Crystals of the Maritime Junior A Hockey League at the age of 16, Gerard netted 60 goals and 115 points in just 45 games.

As a junior, he played for three teams in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League: the Sherbrooke Castors (1980-81, 1981-82), the St. Jean Beavers (1982-83) and the Verdun Juniors (1982-83). During his final year in juniors, he served as the team captain.

After his first junior season in 1981, Gerard finished as runner-up to Claude Verret in voting for 1980-81 Michel Bergeron Trophy as QMJHL offensive rookie of the year.

Professional Playing CareerEdit

Gerard was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in the sixth round (107th overall) in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft.

He made his professional debut with the Adirondack Red Wings of the American Hockey League in 1983. At the age of 19, he was the youngest regular on the roster.

Spending the full 1983-84 season in the minors, Gerard finished with 31 goals, 64 points and 195 penalty minutes in 77 games.

Gerard split the 1984-85 season between the AHL and NHL, making his Detroit Red Wings debut against the New York Islanders on January 22, 1985.

In his first game, he scored against Islanders goaltender Billy Smith in the second period of a 5-4 Detroit victory that snapped a 12-game Red Wings winless streak. In his second game, he fought Rangers forward Bob Brooke.

Gerard opened the 1985-86 season as a full-time regular with the Red Wings. However, in a December 11, 1985 game against the Minnesota North Stars, he suffered a broken jaw during a fight with Dirk Graham. His jaw had to be wired-shut for six weeks, causing him to miss six weeks of games.

When he returned, Gerard sported a football-style facemask on his helmet. He ultimately appeared in 52 games, scoring 20 goals with 39 points and 106 penalty minutes. He was part of an unfortunate incident in a November 26, 1986 game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Red Wings in Detroit.

During a scrum in front of the Leafs net, Gerard accidentally cut the face of Borje Salming with his skate blade after Salming had been knocked down. The injury required facial surgery and more than two hundred stitches to Salming's face.

Gerard's career took off after Jacques Demers was hired as the Red Wings head coach in 1986. In his next four seasons he averaged 36 goals, 80 points and 235 penalty minutes. While he never played in the All-Star Game, he was named to the NHL All Star Second Team for the 1988–89 NHL season.

Injuries (mostly to his back) caused Gerard to miss over 30 games over the 1990-91 NHL season. In March of 1991, he was forced to undergo surgery to remove a bone spur from his back, causing him to miss the rest of the regular season and the playoffs. He returned to the Wings as a full-time regular for the 1991-92 and 1992-93 seasons.

Gerard provided his usual physical presence and finished with a +16 and +20 plus/minus rating; however, he was unable to duplicate his scoring prowess and the Wings did not offer him a contract to return.

On July 22, 1993, Gallant signed as a free agent with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He played in 51 games with the Lightning in 1993-94 and 1 game in the lockout-shortened 1995 season, along with 16 games with the Atlanta Knights (the Lightning's top farm team in the IHL).

On October 23, 1995, Gerard signed as a free agent with the Detroit Vipers of the IHL, and was off to a good start with 2 goals and an assist in 3 games. However, on November 5, 1995, he suffered a career-ending back injury in practice and he was forced to retire at the age of 32.

Gerard finished his NHL career with 211 goals in 615 games as a leftwinger for the Red Wings and Lightning. He also scored 18 playoff goals.

Coaching CareerEdit

Gerard began his coaching career in 1995-1996 with his hometown Summerside Capitals of the Maritime Junior Hockey League, leading the team to the Royal Bank Cup in 1997.

He then moved on to the professional coaching ranks, serving as an assistant coach for the Fort Wayne Komets of the IHL in 1998. He spent the 1999-00 season serving as an assistant for the Louisville Panthers of the AHL.

Gerard then served as assistant for the Columbus Blue Jackets of the NHL from 2001-2004 under head coaches Dave King and Doug MacLean. King had served as Gerard's head coach for Team Canada at the 1989 World Ice Hockey Championships.

MacLean had been an assistant coach with the Red Wings in the early 1990s. MacLean, who was also serving as the Blue Jackets general manager, resigned as head coach on January 1, 2004, and named Gerard as his successor.

Gerard's assistant position was filled by veteran college hockey coach Dean Blais. He served as the Blue Jackets head coach for the remainder of the 2003-04 season, through the 2004-05 season lost to the NHL lockout, all of the 2005-06 season, and a portion of 2006-07 season.

On November 13, 2006, Gerard was fired as head coach and was replaced by assistant Gary Agnew for 5 games. The Blue Jackets ultimately hired Ken Hitchcock as full-time coach on November 22, 2006.

In 2007, Gerard was named by Team Canada general manager Steve Yzerman as one of the 2 assistant coaches for the 2007 Men's World Ice Hockey Championships. He helped the Canadian team to a championship and gold medal finish.

Gallant joined the New York Islanders as an assistant coach for the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons. The head coach of the Islanders Ted Nolan had been a teammate of Gerard's on the Adirondack Red Wings in 1983.

On April 24, 2009, Gerard was named head coach of the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL.

During his three seasons with Saint John, he compiled a 159-34-9 record and led the Sea Dogs to three first-place finishes, three league final appearances, two QMJHL championships (2011 & 2012) and one Memorial Cup (2011).

He was also named the QMJHL and Canadian Hockey League Coach of the Year twice (2010 & 2011).

On June 15, 2012, Gerard returned to the NHL when he was appointed as assistant head coach with the Montreal Canadians under head coach Michel Therrien. Canadians general manager Marc Bergevin had been a teammate of his with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 1990s.

On June 21, 2014, Gerard was named head coach of the Florida Panthers of the NHL by Executive Vice President and General Manager Dale Tallon. During his first season, he led the Panthers to a record of 38 wins, 29 losses, 5 OT losses and 10 shoot-out losses for 91 points. The record was an improvement of 9 wins and 25 points over the prior season.

In the 2015–16 NHL season, Gallant led the upstart Panthers to a 24-12-4 record at the All-Star break, earning him a spot in the all-star game as the head coach for the Atlantic Division All-Stars. The Panthers finished with a club-record 47 wins and 103 points. For his efforts, Gallant was named as a finalist for the Jack Adams Award.

On November 27, 2016, Gallant was fired by new Panthers general manager Tom Rowe after posting a 11–10–1 record to start the season. On April 13, 2017, he was announced to be the first head coach of the Vegas Golden Knights.

Career StatisticsEdit

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1979–80 Summerside Crystals MJrHL 45 60 55 115 90
1980–81 Sherbrooke Castors QMJHL 68 41 59 100 265 14 6 13 19 46
1981–82 Sherbrooke Castors QMJHL 58 34 58 92 260 22 14 24 38 84
1981–82 Sherbrooke Castors M-Cup 5 5 3 8 28
1982–83 St-Jean Castors QMJHL 33 28 25 53 139
1982–83 Verdun Juniors QMJHL 29 26 49 75 105 15 14 19 33 84
1982–83 Verdun Juniors M-Cup 4 3 1 4 23
1983–84 Adirondack Red Wings AHL 77 31 33 64 195 7 1 3 4 34
1984–85 Detroit Red Wings NHL 32 6 12 18 66 3 0 0 0 11
1984–85 Adirondack Red Wings AHL 46 18 29 47 131
1985–86 Detroit Red Wings NHL 52 20 19 39 106
1986–87 Detroit Red Wings NHL 80 38 34 72 216 16 8 6 14 43
1987–88 Detroit Red Wings NHL 73 34 39 73 242 16 6 9 15 55
1988–89 Detroit Red Wings NHL 76 39 54 93 230 6 1 2 3 40
1989–90 Detroit Red Wings NHL 69 36 44 80 254
1990–91 Detroit Red Wings NHL 45 10 16 26 111
1991–92 Detroit Red Wings NHL 69 14 22 36 187 11 2 2 4 25
1992–93 Detroit Red Wings NHL 67 10 20 30 188 6 1 2 3 4
1993–94 Tampa Bay Lightning NHL 51 4 9 13 74
1994–95 Tampa Bay Lightning NHL 1 0 0 0 0
1994–95 Atlanta Knights IHL 16 3 3 6 31
1995–96 Detroit Vipers IHL 3 2 1 3 6
NHL totals 615 211 269 480 1674 58 18 21 39 178

Coaching RecordEdit

Team Year Regular season Post season
G W L T OTL Pts Finish Result
CBJ 2003-04 45 16 24 4 1 62 4th in Central Missed playoffs
CBJ 2005–06 82 35 43 4 74 3rd in Central Missed playoffs
CBJ 2006–07 15 5 9 1 73 (fired)
FLA 2014–15 82 38 29 15 91 6th in Atlantic Missed playoffs
FLA 2015–16 82 47 26 9 103 1st in Atlantic Lost in Conference Quarterfinals
FLA 2016–17 22 11 10 1 23 (fired)
Total 328 152 141 4 31 426 1 playoff appearance

International PlayEdit

Gerard played for Team Canada at the 1989 World Ice Hockey Championships under head coach Dave King.

Playing alongside Red Wings teammate Steve Yzerman, he scored 2 goals and had 3 assists in 8 games as the Canadians won the Silver Medal.

AccoladesEdit

Player Awards

  • QMJHL All-Star Third Team: 1982-83 (St. Jean-Verdun)
  • NHL All-Star Second Team: 1988-89 (Detroit Red Wings)
  • Men's World Ice Hockey Championships-Silver Medal: 1989 (Team Canada)

Coaching Awards

  • Royal Bank Cup: 1997 (Summerside Capitals)
  • Prince Edward Island Sports Hall of Fame: Inducted 2001
  • Brian Kilrea Coach of the Year Award: 2009-10 (Saint John Sea Dogs)
  • Men's World Ice Hockey Championships-Gold Medal: 2007 (Team Canada)
  • Brian Kilrea Coach of the Year Award: 2010-11 (Saint John Sea Dogs)
  • QMJHL League Championship: 2010-2011 (Saint John Sea Dogs)
  • Memorial Cup Championship: 2011 (Saint John Sea Dogs)
  • QMJHL League Championship: 2011-2012 (Saint John Sea Dogs)
  • NHL All Star Game Coach: 2015-16 (Florida Panthers - Atlantic Division)

Personal LifeEdit

Gerard was born in Summerside, Prince Edward Island. He grew up near a local ice rink, and could be found sweeping the stands with his buddies in exchange for extra ice time. He has had the nickname "Turk" since he was three or four years old.

Gerard noted that when he first got to the NHL, a lot of the guys also called him "Spuddy" because of Prince Edward Island's reputation as the potato capital of Canada.

Gerard and his wife Pam are the parents of two children: Melissa and Jason.

Their daughter Melissa is married to professional hockey player Darryl Boyce and their son Jason played for four seasons with the Summerside Western Capitals of the MJAHL and currently coaches youth hockey.