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Golden Knights Ex-Head Coach Pete DeBoer Returns, Says Favorite Game Was a Loss

Former Vegas Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer is back in Las Vegas as the Dallas Stars play at T-Mobile Arena.

DeBoer coached three seasons…



Former Vegas Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer is back in Las Vegas as the Dallas Stars play at T-Mobile Arena.

DeBoer coached three seasons with the Golden Knights and had a 160-98-50 record. The VGK made the playoffs two out of the three seasons DeBoer was head coach and made two deep runs in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with back-to-back Conference Final appearances.

"This is a special place. I want to thank Bill Foley and the people of Vegas they welcomed an arch-enemy with open arms. I loved my time here; I kept my house here and probably would consider retiring here. I just loved everything about it, and it's nice to be back and see familiar faces," said DeBoer.

DeBoer was the coach for the Golden Knights in some strange seasons. The 2019-20 season was paused due to COVID-19 and then resumed later, 2020-21 was the COVID-shortened new-division season, and last season saw several canceled games due to COVID and many VGK injuries.

"I thought we played a lot of really good hockey in the short time I was here. I have got a lot of respect for players and some of the staff over there. I think we had unprecedented times with COVID and the bubble and adversity with injuries. I look back on a 15-16 year career; I can't remember a two or three-year period with that much going on. In hindsight and in reflection, I'm proud of how we handled it as a staff and the people in that room," said DeBoer.

The Golden Knights fired DeBoer after a 43-31-8 record season, and the VGK missed the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

"I know we didn't make the playoffs, but you know, the adversity that got thrown at us last year when I look back now, and you see teams like Colorado dealing with it and Vegas again now. It's not easy. And you know, I think hindsight has shown that, for that group, while we didn't get done what we wanted to do, it wasn't for lack of effort or commitment," said DeBoer.

Several players developed under the guidance of DeBoer in his time as head coach, such as now All-Star goaltender Logan Thompson.

"You could tell Logan did it right. Logan had a lot of time on his path to the NHL and a lot of time for him developing in the American League, first becoming an elite American League goalie and then coming up. He showed us last year a glimpse of what he's doing now. I'm not surprised, and I'm really happy for him," said DeBoer.

Some of the younger players on the Golden Knight's current team, such as Nicolas Roy, Nicolas Hague, and Zach Whitecloud, and Keegan Kolesar, saw their development blossom in DeBoer's VGK coaching tenure.

"He was awesome. He gave me a lot of opportunities and gave me my first taste of the NHL for a full season and in the playoffs as well. I didn't know what to expect at the very start of my career here with how the COVID season was, but I got an opportunity to make the most of it. He gave me a lot of rope to work with, and it went a long way. I'm sure he's excited to come back here, and I'm sure he wants to win, but, you know, we want it more," said Kolesar.

It's kind of poetic how crazy the NHL's coaching carousel was this past off-season. There were a lot of crossovers between the Dallas Stars, Boston Bruins, and Vegas Golden Knights and three head coaches, Bruce Cassidy, Peter DeBoer, and Jim Montgomery. All three coaches are going to the 2023 NHL All-Star Game. The coach shuffling is best summed up in a graph.

Season Vegas Golden Knights Dallas Stars Boston Bruins
2021-22 Peter DeBoer Rick Bowness Bruce Cassidy
2022-23 Bruce Cassidy Peter DeBoer Jim Montgomery

*Jim Montgomery was the Stars' head coach from 2018-20

"There does become a bond over time even though you are competing, and the players have some of that on the ice as well, and it will be good to see him; I know he's going to be highly motivated to come in here and play well. It will be good to catch up. But to be honest, that is only for a couple of minutes, and then you are done," said current Golden Knights head coach Bruce Cassidy on DeBoer. 

Looking back on his time in Vegas, DeBoer stated that his favorite game was May 10th, 2021, 2-1 vs. the Colorado Avalanche for an interesting reason.

"My favorite game coaching here, it's actually a loss. It really is. We played Colorado basically for the President's Trophy in the second last game of the season, and we played three men short because of cap issues, which is almost unheard of and lost 2-1. But the guys battled their asses off I thought we carried the play and probably deserved to win. It really showed the integrity and character of the group," said DeBoer.

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