Vegas Golden Knights fire coach Gerard Gallant, hire Peter DeBoer

Sporting News

Following a four-game losing streak, the Vegas Golden Knights announced on Wednesday they have fired coach Gerard Gallant and hired Peter DeBoer.

It comes as a surprising move, considering just two seasons ago Gallant led Vegas to the Stanley Cup Final in its first year of existence. This season, the Knights were alone atop the Pacific Division standings as late as Jan. 7; however, Vegas has also struggled to be consistent. From Oct. 21 to Nov. 16 the team went 3-6-3, which included five consecutive losses. The current slide of four losses was preceded by a four-game win streak.

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Currently, the team sits three points behind the Arizona Coyotes for the top spot in the division, and is tied in points with Vancouver and Winnipeg for the two wild cards.

In the team's news release announcing the move — which also noted assistant coach Mike Kelly's removal — general manager Kelly McCrimmon said, “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."

Gallant's tenure ends with a 118-75-34 record and the 2018 Jack Adams Award. He was hired as the franchise's first coach back in 2017 after two-plus seasons at the helm for the Florida Panthers. As of Wednesday, he is scheduled to coach the Pacific Division at the All-Star Game on Jan. 25.

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DeBoer now enters the picture 34 days after being fired by the Sharks — the same team that eliminated the Golden Knights in a controversial seven-game series in the 2019 postseason.

"In Peter DeBoer, we have a proven, experienced head coach who we believe can help us achieve our ultimate goal," McCrimmon noted. "We are excited to welcome Peter and his family to the Vegas Golden Knights organization. We look forward to a strong finish to the 2019-20 season with Peter at the helm and a successful tenure in the seasons to come.”

A former coach of the Sharks, New Jersey Devils and Panthers, DeBoer has a 415-329-111 career record, along with 46 playoff victories and a 2012 Stanley Cup Final appearance with the Devils.

DeBoer is expected to join Vegas in Ottawa for Thursday's game, and will have two familiar faces on the bench — defensemen Jon Merrill, whom he coached in New Jersey, and Shea Theodore who played for DeBoer when he was an assistant coach on Canada's gold-medal winning 2015 World Junior Championship squad.

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