Gerard Gallant (Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)
San Jose Sharks coach Peter DeBoer has relinquished his role as assistant coach for Team North America at the World Cup citing personal reasons. Florida Panthers bench boss Gerard Gallant will replace DeBoer.
World Cup of Hockey rosters are set to be announced later this week, but there’s been a lineup change behind the Team North America bench.
It was announced over the weekend that San Jose Sharks coach Peter DeBoer, who was set to be an assistant with the North American squad, will not be undertaking that role with the club. Citing personal reasons, DeBoer backed away from his position with the North American World Cup entry and it appears he will not be joining the team for the tournament.
The NHL and NHLPA named Florida Panthers coach Gerard Gallant as DeBoer’s replacement. He will join Todd McLellan, Jon Cooper, Dave Tippett and Jay Woodcroft behind the bench on a team led by GMs Peter Chiarelli and Stan Bowman.
While DeBoer exiting the team is unexpected, that he has been replaced by Gallant shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Gallant is a fantastic candidate to fill the spot, especially given what he has been able to do in two seasons behind the bench in Florida, and many considered him a candidate before the coaching staff was announced.
Over his two seasons with the Panthers, Gallant has coached the team to a 73-48-23 record and currently has them sitting atop the Atlantic Division. This comes one season after Gallant helped take the Panthers from a 29th-place team to a club that challenged for the post-season.
What makes him a great fit, too, is that he has plenty of experience and success coaching young players. From 2009 to 2012, Gallant spent three seasons as the coach of the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs. In back-to-back seasons in 2010-11 and 2011-12, Gallant coached the club to championships, including a Memorial Cup victory in 2011.
When the North American roster is announced, there’s a good chance Gallant will have a couple of familiar faces under his watch. Both Jonathan Huberdeau and Aaron Ekblad, two of the Panthers’ top players, seem likely candidates for the team.