Thursday, June 8, 2017

Kelly (officially) joins Gallant in Vegas

The Vegas Golden Knights haven't played a game and barely have a roster - and yet there are already a few Saint John Sea Dogs connections in the organization.

Gerard Gallant, who coached the Sea Dogs from 2009-2012, was named the club's first head coach in April. Unsurprisingly, the Knights coaching staff will feature a familiar face working alongside Gallant: Mike Kelly.

The Knights made the Kelly hiring official this afternoon, naming him an assistant coach.

"I am very excited to be working with Mike again," said Gallant in a press release. "We enjoyed success in both Florida and Saint John and I am eager to bring that success to the Golden Knights. Mike is a great guy with a wealth of hockey knowledge and I couldn't be happier with the decision to bring him to Las Vegas."

Gallant and Kelly worked together in Saint John from 2009-2012, bringing the team three regular season titles, two President Cups and a Memorial Cup. The two later worked together with the Florida Panthers, where they were both fired (and put in taxis! The horror!) this past season.

Meanwhile, Rocky Thompson, who recently guided the Windsor Spitfires to the 2017 Memorial Cup championship, has been named head coach of the Chicago Wolves, the Knights' AHL affiliate.
Thompson and the Spitfires defeated the Sea Dogs in their only meeting at this year's Memorial Cup. Thompson deserves a lot of credit for Windsor's championship, clearly having his team ready for the tournament despite the long layoff.

Thompson was a fan favourite during his AHL days with the Saint John Flames, a lot like Mike Thomas and Brett Gallant were with the Sea Dogs.

It'll be interesting to see if any other Sea Dogs alumni make their way to the Golden Knights organization, whether it be through drafting, signings or trades. The team's AHL affiliate will be used by both the Knights and St. Louis Blues for the 2017-18 season.

In other Memorial Cup coaching news, the Erie Otters' Kris Knoblauch has been named an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Flyers.

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