Gallant, who had his 2011-12 season cut short by a dislocated shoulder, signed a one-year contract with the top affiliate of the National Hockey League’s New York Islanders.
“I had a good year until I got hurt in January,” said Gallant, who added his shoulder felt fine when he returned to the lineup at the end of the season. “I had a good experience playing in the games I did, and I hope to build on that this year.”
Gallant has spent the last year and a half with the Sound Tigers, and he enjoys living in the Bridgeport area.
“I live in Milford, which is probably 15 or 20 minutes away,” said the son of Mike (Pinky) and Patricia Gallant. “It’s a nice little town. My family and I like it there.”
In 25 regular-season games with the Sound Tigers last season, Gallant had two goals, one assist, 80 penalty minutes and a minus-two rating.
“With the way the game is progressing, you just can’t be a one-dimensional tough guy anymore,” said Gallant, 23. “They (Bridgeport coaching staff) know that and they work with you every day.
“They have four or five coaches working with you one-on-one every day, before and after practice. They work on your skating, puck skills and that stuff all the time.”
The fact the Islanders have been stockpiling good young talent in recent years is very exciting, admits Gallant. Last year, the Sound Tigers finished the regular season first in the Northeast Division at 41-26-3-6 (won-lost-overtime losses-shootout losses).
“I had a good year until I got hurt in January. I had a good experience playing in the games I did, and I hope to build on that this year.” - Brett Gallant
“We had a really young team last year, and I played with three or four young guys that will get a really good shot at the NHL this year,” said Gallant, who signalled out former Team Canada juniors Casey Cizikas and Calvin de Haan.
With the uncertainty surrounding the National Hockey League labour situation, Gallant is uncertain when he will head out for training camp. Last year, he attended the Islanders’ rookie camp and earned an invite to the main camp. This year, he is hoping to get the opportunity to attend the Islanders’ main camp as well.
Now that he is becoming a familiar face in Bridgeport, Gallant admits he is hoping to take on more of a leadership role with the Sound Tigers this season.
“Absolutely,” reiterated Gallant, who has also played with Reading and Elmira in the East Coast Hockey League. “Whenever you get older it’s something you want to be a part of, and looked up to as a leader.”
Gallant is certainly familiar with that role. He was a leader with the Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and he captained the Summerside Western Capitals to the 2009 MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) and Fred Page Cup (Eastern Canadian junior A hockey championship) titles. In his final season with the Caps, Gallant recorded 73 points, including 24 goals, and 235 penalty minutes in 50 regular-season games.