SAINT JOHN, Friday, April 24, 2009 - Saint John Sea Dogs Majority Owner and Chief Executive Officer Scott McCain announced today that the team has hired former NHL player and coach Gerard Gallant as the third Head Coach in franchise history. The Sea Dogs also announced today that former CIS Coach of the Year Mike Kelly has been named the team’s Associate Coach & Director of Hockey Operations.
"We’re absolutely thrilled to be adding Gerard and Mike to our organization," said McCain. "These were by far the two best candidates available, and we’re looking forward to having them lead our team to new heights of excellence in the coming years. With Gerard and Mike, Saint John now boasts a truly amazing coaching tandem, and we could not be more confident in their ability to take the Sea Dogs to the next level and have us contending for a league title in the near future."
Both Gallant and Kelly have signed three-year contracts with the Sea Dogs.
"This is a great day for our franchise," said Long. "We feel that the addition of Gerard and Mike to our staff gives Saint John the very best coaching unit in the Canadian Hockey League. Both coaches have highly-impressive credentials and each has a great history of providing strong leadership and tutelage throughout their esteemed careers. It’s definitely a real coup for our program to be bringing in not one, but two of the most well-respected coaches in the country, and we feel that this double hiring shows that our ownership group is wholly committed to providing a quality product for the wonderful hockey fans of south western New Brunswick."
Gallant, 45, most recently served as an Assistant Coach with the New York Islanders (NHL) during the 2007-08 season. Prior to his tenure in Long Island, the Summerside, PEI native spent seven years on the coaching staff of the Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL), serving as the team’s Head Coach from January 1, 2004 to November 13, 2007.
Kelly, 49, has coached at several levels throughout his 16-year career. Originally from Oakville, ON, Kelly 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).
Finally, team President Wayne Long announced that longtime Head Scout, Norm Gosselin, has been promoted to Director of Player Personnel.
"Norm has done a fantastic job for us for four years now," said Long. "He has a great track record of effectively evaluating talent and we have tremendous faith in his ability to excel in this expanded role within our organization."
A native of Montreal, Quebec, Gosselin has been involved with the QMJHL for almost twenty years. Formerly the General Manager of the St. Jean/Sherbrooke/Lewiston franchise, Gosselin has also worked for the Val-d’Or Foreurs, Shawinigan Cataractes, and Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. The Sea Dogs hired Gosselin as the team’s Head Scout in January of 2005.
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)