The Florida Panthers general manager Tom Rowe has been officially named the club’s interim head coach.
After the shocking firing of Gerard Gallant on Sunday, the team stated that GM Tom Rowe will serve as his replacement. Rowe will remain behind Florida’s bench for the duration of the 2016-17 season.
“My focus is solely on turning our season around, fixing our special teams, and securing a playoff berth,” Rowe said.
When it comes to the firing of Gallant and assistant coach Mike Kelly, the Florida Panthers owner said it was a move made because the team needs “new leadership.”
“In seeking to earn a second consecutive playoff berth and bring a Stanley Cup to South Florida, we believe that new leadership is required immediately,” Panthers owner Vincent J. Viola said.
“Today is a hard day,” Tallon said. “Gerard and Mike are good men and talented hockey coaches. We thank them for their contributions in the community, for their work developing our young players and in helping to turn around the culture.”
Rowe has no experience as an NHL head coach, but he does have experience behind the bench. He was behind the bench as part of Paul Maurice’s staff with the Carolina Hurricanes before moving on to coach the KHL’s Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in 2012-13. He also served as coach of Florida’s AHL affiliates, the Portland Pirates and San Antonio Rampage from 2013-16.
The Panthers currently sit two points out of the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.