It’s a Panthers reunion in Sin City.
On Thursday, Las Vegas announced that Mike Kelly would join head coach Gerard Gallant’s staff as an assistant. It’s the same position Kelly held under Gallant in Florida for the last three years — and, before than, in the Quebec League.
“I am very excited to be working with Mike again,” Gallant said, in a release. “We enjoyed success in both Florida and Saint John and I am eager to bring that success to the Golden Knights.
“Mike is a great guy with a wealth of hockey knowledge and I couldn’t be happier with the decision to bring him to Las Vegas.”
Kelly, 57, was turfed by the Panthers last November — along with Gallant, in a highly scrutinized move. Prior to his time with Florida, Kelly helped Gallant and Saint John win the Memorial Cup in 2011.
Kelly also has experience behind an NHL bench, having served as Alain Vigneault’s assistant in Vancouver for two seasons.
“We are very proud of the addition of Mike to our team’s coaching staff,” Vegas GM George McPhee said. “His experience as a coach at various level within professional hockey and as a recent assistant coach under Gerard with the Panthers made him a well-rounded candidate.
“His familiarity with Gerard’s coaching style and practices will make this a seamless transition for our club.”
The reunion might not end with Kelly, either. According to a Columbus Dispatch report from last month, John Madden — another of Gallant’s ex-assistants in Florida — is in the mix to become an assistant in Vegas.
Madden currently coaches Columbus’ AHL affiliate in Cleveland.