The Vegas Golden Knights officially announced the hiring of Gerard Gallant as the franchises first head coach Thursday.

Gallant, 53, has been linked to the gig since his dismissal from the Florida Panthers in November, and the speculation became all but a certainty Wednesday, as reports surfaced that general manager George McPhee was closing in on his target.

“We are proud to announce Gerard as the first head coach in Vegas Golden Knights history,’ McPhee said. “He is an experienced head coach, has had success at multiple levels and has a great reputation amongst the players who have played for him.

“Being named the first head coach in Vegas Golden Knights history is such a tremendous opportunity and one I am extremely grateful for,” said Gallant. “There is a great deal of excitement in the hockey community regarding what is happening with the Golden Knights and I am glad to now be a part of the team.”

Gallant led the Panthers to the Atlantic Division title in 2015-16, and owns a record of 152-141-4-31 as an NHL head coach. He’s also been named to Team Canada’s coaching staff for the 2017 World Championship, and was an assistant for Team North America at September’s World Cup.