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DOUG GALLANT: There and back again
I am a big fan of "Anne of Green Gables" and of the subsequent stories, but that's not why I'm writing.
One of Summerside's favorite sons, Gerard Gallant, was fired on Jan. 15 from his NHL Vegas Golden Knights coaching job. Las Vegas, as a three-year-old NHL hockey town, is in a glitzy, shell-shocked uproar over the outlandish stupidity demonstrated by the Vegas Golden Knights upper management.
I am a Las Vegas-area citizen, who up until Mr. Gallant took up residence as the perfect coach for the newly-formed Vegas NHL team, was a confirmed hockey abstainer. I hated to watch hockey teams play dangerously and angrily, so I just quit watching years ago. My daughter got me to watch the Vegas Golden Knights with her, and I was hooked. The comradery, intensity, dazzling speed, endurance, unmatched teamwork, humble-yet-cocky execution, and special uniqueness of the Golden Knights players and coaches as a tight-knit group drew me in.
I am writing with the hope your newspaper can tell Gerard Gallant, or someone he knows, how much a mark he has made in Las Vegas.
This desert town is indebted to NHL hockey itself, planting a team here when it did. On Oct. 1, 2017, Las Vegas lost its small town feel because of the Route 91 Harvest music festival mass shooting. Within days, the Vegas Golden Knights single-handedly restored our sense of community in their inaugural home game. While the Golden Knights players are more visible in their community action, Gerard Gallant kept the team focused on hockey during their historic run to the Stanley Cup finals their first year as a NHL team. He was simply the best coach in NHL hockey that year, and, as such, was awarded the Jack Adams award in 2018.
Hockey moves fast, and coaches are sanguine about their job security. Those two truths make it even more important to me to let Gerard Gallant know, for sure, what a difference he made every day in Las Vegas. I wish I could tell him myself in a letter or an email, but I didn't let him know while he was still here. I am most sorry about that.
Las Vegas, Nevada