“Absolutely, and that’s the biggest thing,” said Gallant in discussing his time in the top development league for the National Hockey League. “You have to catch up to the speed, it’s so much quicker at every level.
“The longer you play at a level you catch up with them and start getting comfortable.”
The 24-year-old son of Mike (Pinky) and Patricia Gallant of Summerside is a forward with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, who are affiliated with the New York Islanders.
The 6’0” and 185-pound Gallant is in his third year, and second full season, with the Sound Tigers. He was originally called up from the East Coast Hockey League in February 2011.
After a shoulder injury limited his 2011-12 season to 25 games, Gallant returned healthy for this season, and has played every game except for the three games he was suspended for.
“The coach is using me really well, and I’m happy with the start so far,” said Gallant, who is pointless in 30 regular-season games while accumulating a team-leading 155 penalty minutes.
However, Gallant’s contributions extend well beyond the score sheet. He continues to prove he is willing to stand up for his teammates as, according to hockeyfights.com, he has engaged in 19 fights this season.
“For me, it’s doing whatever I can to help the team win,” said Gallant in discussing any second-half expectations. “That’s my biggest goal.”
And having appeared in 72 regular-season games with the Sound Tigers, Gallant, a former captain of the Summerside Western Capitals’ junior A hockey team, is also looking to contribute to the team’s leadership.
“For me, it’s doing whatever I can to help the team win. That’s my biggest goal.” - Bridgeport Sound Tigers forward Brett Gallant
“I think I really have,” he added. “I know the coach expects me to lead by example.”
The Sound Tigers sit second in the Northeast Division at 17-14-2-2 (won-lost-overtime losses-shootout losses).
“For our team, it’s been up and down,” said Gallant. “We’ll go on a big winning streak and right now we’re in a little funk where we lost the last five, but we are still in a playoff spot.
“I think we can make some noise this year.”
But with NHL training camps expected to start on Sunday, AHL teams are likely be affected.
“We played last night (Tuesday) against Hershey and they sat out two or three guys,” said Gallant. “They sat out their starting goaltender, (Braden) Holtby, he’ll be going up (to Washington).
“We used our whole lineup, so as of right now I do not know what’s going on, but we definitely will be losing some players.”
Jason Simmonds is the sports editor of the Journal Pioneer. The “Islanders Away” feature appears every Thursday. To suggest an “Islander Away” please do so by emailing email@example.com.