LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Former Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant said he was surprised by he and Mike Kelley's firing last week, according to a news report.
The Journal Pioneer in Prince Edward Island, Canada talked to Gallant Saturday. Gallant, a native to the area, talked to the reporter at a Junior Hockey League game.
“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.
“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 told the reporter he is interested in coaching again and said assistant Mike Kelley, who was also fired by the Golden Knights, was a big part of his coaching. The Journal Pioneer said they were unable to get ahold of Kelley for the story.
Gallant also looked back at his time with the Golden Knights, including the Stanley Cup Final run in 2018.
“The 2 ½ years were incredible,” said Gallant. “That first year was a magical season. If we could have capped it off winning the Stanley Cup it would have been incredible.
“Up until I got fired, I had 2 ½ years of being really happy in Vegas. It’s a good organization, a good team and I was excited," Gallant said.
Gallant was fired by the Golden Knights Wednesday. In a press conference, General Manager Kelly McCrimmon said the move was necessary for the team to reach its full potential. The hiring of Peter DeBoer was announced at the same time.
"In Peter DeBoer, we have a proven, experienced head coach who we believe can help us achieve our ultimate goal," McCrimmon said.
Gallant won the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year in 2018. The team also made the playoffs last season before losing in seven games in the first round to DeBoer’s Sharks.