Jason Gallant named Kensington Wild's new head coach

Jason Gallant named Kensington Wild's new head coach


KENSINGTON, P.E.I. — The Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild has a new head coach and added to its management team.

Jason Gallant is the team’s new bench boss for the 2021-22 season.

“I am looking to pursue coaching, and it’s something I am really interested in, so it’s an excellent opportunity to set down some roots here and enjoy the process,” said the 31-year-old Gallant, who resides in Summerside with his wife Alexa (nee Ellis). “It’s a great spot and a great organization.”

Gallant, a teacher at Three Oaks Senior High School in Summerside, is in his second season as an assistant coach with the Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals’ junior A program. With the team currently playing in the Maritime Junior Hockey League (MHL) playoffs, Gallant will complete the season with the Caps.

Management role

Former longtime assistant coach Duane (Trixie) Richards, who stepped down with head coach Kyle Dunn following the 2020-21 campaign after working together for seven years, will remain with the organization and move into a management role.

“I said in my exit interview that I wanted to stay involved in hockey, and this would be an avenue I would be interested in pursuing,” said Richards. “It doesn’t take up nearly as much time travelling from Charlottetown as I now will be going to games and events instead of every game and practice.

“It frees up a little bit of time, allows me take on a different role, and I am still involved in hockey.”

Gallant is pleased Richards is staying with the organization and is looking forward to working together.

“Trixie is a great guy and has lots and lots of knowledge in this league, how it works and its processes,” said Gallant. “It’s something that is going to be invaluable for me coming in.”

Wild owner Mike Gallant said he was impressed with the quality of applications for the head-coaching position.

“All five applicants could have easily taken on the head coach’s role, but we had to make a choice,” he said. “We are thrilled to have Jason come aboard.

“His role with the junior A program the last few years is going to be a big asset with our club for sure.”

The new head coach agreed with that assessment, adding he learned a lot working under Caps head coach Billy McGuigan.

“(The MHL) is an awesome league,” he said. “I don’t think it gets enough credit. It’s an extremely well-coached league and the structure is awesome.”

Jason Gallant, the son of Gerard (Turk) and Pam Gallant, is no stranger to the Wild or the six-team New Brunswick/Prince Edward Island Major Under-18 Hockey League. He served three years as an assistant coach under Luke Beck with the Charlottetown Bulk Carriers Pride (now Knights) from 2016 to 2019.

“It’s where I feel I came into my own as a coach,” he said, reflecting on his time with the Pride. “It’s an excellent league and really competitive.

“You are working with guys who are going on to play professional hockey. You can’t say that in every league. It’s an excellent chance to (have an) impact on those lives early, early in their career.”


Jason Gallant’s coaching resumé:

• Head coach of the Mid-Isle Matrix under-11 team for two years.

• Head coach of the Mid-Isle Matrix under-13 team for one year.

• Assistant coach of the Charlottetown Pride major under-18 team for three years.

• Head coach of the Mount Academy Saints’ under-15 boys team for one year.

• Assistant coach with Summerside Western Capitals’ junior A team two years.

Gallant now finds himself on the other side of an intense rivalry between the Kensington and Charlottetown franchises.

“It’s a fun rivalry to be part of,” added Gallant. “It will be a different aspect of it.”

Coaching philosophy

The coach said his personality and approach is if players are having fun and working hard, they are going to develop. He feels this will help add to the franchise’s winning culture.

The Knights swept the Wild in the 2021 best-of-seven provincial championship series to end Kensington's run of four straight Prince Edward Island titles from 2016 through 2019. COVID-19 resulted in the cancellation of the 2020 playoffs.

“For me, it’s all about development, which at that age leads to team success, too,” said Gallant. “What I want people to say when my coaching time is over is that I developed players and had excellent teams that played hard, respectful and played the game the right way.

“That is what I’m looking to build along with adding to that culture. Coming in as the new coach, I am looking forward to adding on to the tradition here.”

Jason Simmonds is The Guardian's sports reporter. He can be reached by email at Jason.simmonds@theguardian.pe.ca and followed on Twitter at @JpsportsJason .