Entry-level deal with New York Islanders
UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Summerside native Brett Gallant has signed a one-year National Hockey League contract with the New York Islanders.
© Jason Simmonds/Journal Pioneer
Brett Gallant in action with the Summerside Western Capitals of the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) during the 2008-09 season.
“It’s always exciting to get your first NHL deal, and I’m happy about it,” said Gallant in a phone interview on Tuesday afternoon, shortly after the Islanders announced the deal. Terms of the entry-level deal were not released.
The Islanders contacted Gallant’s agent “three or four days ago” about getting a deal done.
“Right away it was obvious shock (to find out the Islanders wanted to do a deal),” said Gallant, 24. “That’s what you work your whole life for and play hockey for, and I was pretty happy about it.
“Then last night (Monday) we got something done. It’s incredible I am getting this opportunity, and I cannot thank them (Islanders) any more.”
Gallant made the jump to the pro ranks after captaining the 2008-09 Summerside Western Capitals to the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) regular-season and playoff championships, and the Fred Page Cup Eastern Canadian junior A hockey championship.
Now in his fourth pro season, which also included stints in the East Coast Hockey League, Gallant is in his third year with the Islanders’ American Hockey League affiliate, Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
“I’ll remain in Bridgeport and if they want to use me up with the Islanders they can call me up at any time,” said Gallant, who is pointless in 37 regular-season games this season but is third in the AHL in penalty minutes – 174.
“Just because you get a contract, you don’t stop doing your thing,” added Gallant. “I’m just going to keep playing the game like I did before, and play hard every night.”
“It’s always exciting to get your first NHL deal, and I’m happy about it." Bridgeport Sound Tigers forward Brett Gallant
Gallant has appeared in 77 games over the past three seasons with the Sound Tigers, and has recorded three goals, one assist and 327 penalty minutes.
Like everyone who reaches this stage in their career, Gallant has had a few individuals who have impacted his career in a very positive way. He recognized the contributions and support of his parents, Mike (Pinky) and Patricia Gallant of Summerside; Joe Borden, who trains Gallant during the off-season and is one of his biggest supporters, and Allan Andrews of Andrews Hockey Growth Programs.
Gallant also pointed out that the Islanders’ organization has invested a lot in his development since he joined the Sound Tigers, and for that he is very grateful.
“Even from Day 1, they put the time in with me, whether it be taking me up in the summers to go to camps or doing extra here (Bridgeport) with me,” said Gallant, who also played in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with the Saint John Sea Dogs. “They are doing extra all the time trying to make me a better player, and they’ve been really good to me.
“I couldn’t ask for more. I’m really happy to stay with them, and hopefully I don’t ever have to leave the Islanders’ organization.”