The Vegas Golden Knights hired their first assistant coach on Thursday with the addition of Mike Kelly, reuniting him with head coach Gerard Gallant, the team announced.
Kelly was Gallant’s assistant with the Florida Panthers from 2014-17. The two also worked together in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with the Saint John Sea Dogs from 2010-14.
The Sea Dogs won the Memorial Cup in 2011.
"I am very excited to be working with Mike again," Gallant said in a statement from the team. "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."
Kelly’s coaching resume expands to the international level. In his first year as head coach, he helped lead Team Canada to the gold medal in the 2003 IIHF World Under-18 championships. He spent the prior three years as an assistant with the team.
"We are very proud of the addition of Mike to our team's coaching staff," said Golden Knights general manager George McPhee in the statement. "His experience as a coach at various level within professional hockey and as a recent assistant coach under Gerard with the Panthers made him a well-rounded candidate. His familiarity with Gerard's coaching style and practices will make this a seamless transition for our club."
Getting someone Gallant was familiar with is essential, especially with how much success the two shared in Florida’s surge the last few years. He’s clearly someone Gallant values, and it makes sense to make him the team’s first assistant hire.