The Vegas Golden Knights have sacked coach Peter Debore after failing to play the playoffs for the first time in their short history.
“We would like to thank Pete Debore for his commitment to the Vegas Golden Knights team over the past three seasons,” Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCremon said in a statement. “Since joining the organization, Pete and his staff have guided us through some of the unique and challenging circumstances we have experienced since our franchise entered the NHL. After lengthy discussions over the past two weeks, we believe a new coach will put us in the best position to succeed next season.”
DeBoer was the second coach appointed by Vegas in 2019-20, after coach Gerard Gallant was behind the bench in the team’s first two seasons in the NHL. DeBoer had a record 98-50-12 in his three seasons in Vegas, leading the Golden Knights to the Conference Finals in 2020 and the penultimate round of playoffs in 2021 but failed to reach the Stanley Cup Final in both seasons.
This season, the Golden Knights have struggled through injuries and salary cap challenges to rack up a record 43-31-8 (94 points), missing the playoff by four points. They had an extension late in the season that saw the Knights win once in six crucial games, including a penalty shootout loss at the Dallas Stars that amounted to a de facto playoff.
Vegas reached the Stanley Cup Final in his first season in the NHL, losing to the Washington Capitals in 2018. Owner Bill Foley has been aggressively adding veteran talent ever since hoping to win that elusive championship. The Knights have one of the highest-paid teams in the NHL, with a cap figure that inflated even more when they made a massive trade for the Buffalo Sabers star. Jack Eichel during the season.
Foley recently told the Las Vegas Journal-Review that the team has “lost a bit of character” in the past few years due to roster moves necessitated by the salary cap.
“Our goal is to get back to that identity of not giving up, not giving up and being a team,” he said. “I think we’ve moved away from that identity somewhat with all the changes that have been made and the intrigue going on.” “I would say we’re going to be a team now because we’re ‘ready, shoot, shoot,’ not ‘ready, shoot, shoot’. We’ll be careful. This is a huge priority for me, and I’m going to be involved in it.”
Vegas fired its coach at a time when many high-profile coaches were looking for new jobs. New Yorkers fired Barry Trotz — the coach who beat the Knights in the Stanley Cup Final — last week. If he ends up in Las Vegas, it looks like a pattern: DeBoer was signed after his team defeated the San Jose Sharks of Vegas in the Western Conference playoffs.
Other coaches seeking to get in on the gigs include Claude Julien, who won the Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins. Paul Morris (775) and Alain Vinault (772), who are seventh and eighth in career wins, respectively; Mike Babcock, who last coached the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2019-20 and has faced accusations of mental abuse of players; and Joel Quinville, who quit the Florida Panthers after just seven games this season after detailing his role in the mishandling of allegations that a player was sexually assaulted by an assistant coach at the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010.
Quinville had to ask NHL commissioner Gary Bettman for permission to return to the league, and he didn’t do so until last week.