Mike Kelly has been named head coach and general manager of the Saint John Sea Dogs.
With Gerard Gallant taking an assistant coaching position with the Montreal Canadiens today, Kelly, who has been the team’s associate coach and director of hockey operations for the past three seasons, will take over as both head coach and GM.
“I am thrilled with this opportunity and am grateful to the ownership,” said Kelly in a team release. “Looking back three years ago, we were faced with the same challenges that we are today and we look forward to our next era.”
Kelly has filled in as head coach a few times over the years when Gallant was sick and stuff. Kelly has been behind the bench for most games acting as an assistant coach.
“We couldn’t be in better hands with Mike Kelly taking on both roles,” said Sea Dogs President Wayne Long. “I am excited for our future with Mike as our new Head Coach.”
The Sea Dogs are good hands with Kelly running the bench. He has a plethora of coaching experience from the University ranks to the National Hockey League. From the team release:
Kelly has coached at several levels throughout his career. Originally from Oakville, Ont., he most recently spent three years in the Vancouver Canucks organization (2005-2008) as an assistant coach with both the Canucks and the Manitoba Moose (AHL).
At the major junior level, Kelly has experience in both coaching and in management with the Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL), North Bay Centennials (OHL), and Windsor Spitfires (OHL). In 1998, Kelly led the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds to a Canadian Interuniversity Championship, winning the Father George Kehoe Memorial Award as the top collegiate coach in the country in the process. As a player, Kelly served as captain of UNB and also played professionally in Europe.
Kelly led Canada to a gold medal at the 2003 IIHF World Under-18 Championship, serving as head coach of the elite squad. He was also an assistant on Team Canada’s coaching staff at the IIHF World Junior Championships from 2000 to 2002.
Kelly will be the fourth head coach in team history. Christian LaRue (2005-2006), Jacques Beaulieu (2006-2009), and Gerard Gallant (2009-2012) were the others.
Photo Credit: QMJHL