He’s been away from the NHL for a little while, but that doesn’t mean Gerard Gallant has forgotten how to coach. The veteran bench boss has been named the head coach for Team Canada at the upcoming 2021 IIHF World Championship. Gallant will be joined by assistants Mike Kelly and Andre Tourigny. Hockey Canada CEO Tom Renney released a statement on the decision to bring in Gallant:
We are fortunate to lean on the professional and executive experience that all three gentlemen will bring as Canada gets set for the IIHF World Championship in Latvia. Gerard and Mike have worked together both at the NHL and junior level and have an understanding of what it takes to compete and win. André complements them with his extensive coaching résumé and recent experience at the World Juniors. We believe we have selected a group that will build on each other’s strengths and provide exceptional leadership, with input from Roberto [Luongo] and the Olympic management group, as our team prepares to compete for a gold medal.
This won’t be the first time that Gallant is behind the bench of Team Canada. He served as an assistant at the World Championship in 2007 and 2017 and was also an assistant at the 2016 World Cup. His last full-time coaching position was with the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2019-20 season when he was replaced midseason by Pete DeBoer.
While this could just be Hockey Canada taking advantage of a coach with nothing else to do, it’s easy to see this move for Gallant as a way to get back into the swing of coaching before taking a job next season. Very well respected around the league, his name has been linked to several upcoming vacancies including the Seattle Kraken, who have yet to name their first coach in franchise history. Gallant of course served as that pioneer for the Golden Knights, taking Vegas to the Stanley Cup Final in year one.
Kelly at one point served as an assistant for Gallant in the QMJHL and was actually the coach who took over the Saint John Seadogs when he left for a role with the Montreal Canadiens in 2012. Tourigny meanwhile was recently hired as a full-time coach by Hockey Canada, serving on several staffs over the next year.
The IIHF World Championship is set to start on May 21 in Riga, Latvia.