SAINT JOHN – The Saint John Sea Dogs are proud to announce the organization has agreed to three-year extensions with head coach Gerard Gallant and director of hockey operations/associate coach Mike Kelly.
Originally hired in 2009, the coaching and hockey operations tandem has brought unprecedented success to the Sea Dogs, winning the franchise’s first Memorial Cup in 2011 after taking the team to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League final in their first season. The new three-year agreements run through the 2013-2014 season.
“Our coaches are of the highest calibre, second to none in major junior hockey. We are very happy to be able to extend our relationship with both Gerard Gallant and Mike Kelly, and look forward to watching them continue their tremendous success putting together winning hockey teams,” said Sea Dogs President Wayne Long.
Gallant, a Summerside, P.E.I., native, has won the Brian Kilrea Trophy as the Canadian Hockey League’s Coach of the Year the past two seasons. Prior to joining the Sea Dogs, Gallant served as an NHL assistant coach with the New York Islanders during the 2007-08 season. He also spent seven years on the coaching staff of the Columbus Blue Jackets, serving as the team’s head coach from Jan. 1, 2004 to Nov. 13, 2006. Gallant was behind the bench as an assistant coach with Team Canada at the 2007 IIHF World Championships in Russia, capturing gold at the tournament.
During a highly-successful playing career, Gallant appeared in 615 games in the NHL as a member of the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, tallying 211G-269A-480P-1674PIM over the course of eleven seasons. Originally selected by Detroit in the sixth round (107th overall) of the 1981 NHL Entry Draft, Gallant enjoyed a standout major junior career with the Sherbrooke/St. Jean Beavers and Verdun Juniors, recording 129G-192A-321P-724PIM during his three-year run in the QMJHL. Gallant also led Sherbrooke to a President’s Cup Championship in 1982, contributing 14G-24A-38P to the Beavers’ playoff drive that year.
Kelly was named the top general manager in the QMJHL for 2011. Kelly drafted key cornerstones such as Jonathan Huberdeau, Pierre Durepos, Tomas Jurco, Ryan Tesink and Stanislav Galiev, and orchestrated several notable trades, including the acquisitions of Zack Phillips and Jacob DeSerres. In his first two seasons heading up the hockey operations department, the team won 111 regular-season games. 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.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)