Golden Knights coach awarded key to Summerside upon return to P.E.I.

Vegas Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant was honoured with the key to the city of Summerside during Canada Day celebrations Sunday.

Summerside native Gerard Gallant was honoured during Canada Day celebrations

Gerard Gallant was given the key to the city during a Canada Day ceremony in Summerside, P.E.I. (John Robertson/CBC)

There were some Vegas Golden Knights colours in the crowd of red and white during the Summerside, P.E.I., Canada Day ceremony held at Green's Shore park Sunday afternoon.

Those wearing the Knights' colours were behind the biggest cheers from the crowd when hockey coach Gerard 'Turk' Gallant stepped forward. 

Summerside native Gallant is the head coach of the Vegas Golden Knights and took the team all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals — a huge accomplishment for an expansion team in its first season in the NHL. 

Gallant also received the Jack Adams Award earlier in June — the top award for head coaches in the NHL.

Gerard Gallant was happy to greet community members after the Canada Day ceremony where he recieved the key to the City of Summerside. (John Robertson/CBC)

Gallant spoke during the ceremony where he was awarded the key to the city.

"The support I get from Prince Edward Island and especially Summerside was second to none," Gallant said.

"A lot of people talked about us being an expansion team and I was one of them. I never thought we would make the playoffs let alone make the Stanley Cup Finals but it was an amazing run."

Some fans showed up in Vegas Golden Knights clothing to show their support for Gallant. (John Robertson/CBC)

Many in the crowd sported Golden Knights logos instead of maple leaves. 

"Gerard is a great guy, he is a great ambassador for Summerside and the kids," said Timmy Cameron. "They couldn't have gotten a better coach; the fellow puts all his heart into the game."

 Gallant was happy to have all the support from his home town community throughout the season.

Knew about the support from P.E.I.

"Yeah I knew about it... People were putting things all over their vehicles and in their yards and that, so it's special," Gallant said.

"I know the support, they have always supported me very well here for all the years I played hockey and coached hockey and it's very special."

Gallant stayed after the Canada Day ceremony to shake hands and take pictures with the community that rallied behind him and the new Las Vegas team.

Canada Day celebrations were held in communities across Prince Edward Island. (John Robertson/CBC)

Some congratulated Gallant on the example he is setting for young people in the community. 

"He's really done that through the National Hockey League, has proven to be the best," said Chris Palmer, MLA for Summerside - Wilmot and minister of economic development and tourism.

"I think that it is great and it is an inspirational piece for our kids so that they see that you can actually do it from here ... and it is the leadership that Turk brings to the award."

During the ceremony the P.E.I. government also announced a $1,000 leadership bursary for a Three Oaks Senior High School student, which will be handed out next year through the department of innovation.

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