If there’s one positive for Summerside’s Brett Gallant in having to sit out five to six weeks of the current American Hockey League season, it’s that he gets to see his brothers play.
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers’ enforcer is recovering in Summerside from a dislocated shoulder. It came out of place during a practice nearly two weeks ago.
“I just took a check,” the six-foot, 185-pound left-winger explained. “It wasn’t a hard check, just took it the wrong way and the shoulder came out of place.”
It doesn’t matter that the check was issued by a teammate, he insisted.
“We do practise hard,” said Gallant. “We try to practise the way we play, so things like that are going to happen. It’s part of the game.”
The injury has him off skates for a while and out of the game until possibly late February, so there’s some catch-up going on with his siblings.
“I hadn’t seen Brad play,” Brett said of his older brother, a member of the St. Thomas Tommies. “I think I’ve seen him play one university game in the last four years.
“I got to watch two on the weekend, and I think I might get over this weekend.”
He has also spent some time in Charlottetown with his younger brother Alex, and watched him practise with the P.E.I. Rocket. He will still be home when Alex and the Rocket returns from a road trip for games on the Island next week.
With three adult sons playing in three different leagues, hockey is certainly a popular topic of conversation in the Mike (Pinky) and Patricia Gallant household in Summerside.
In 20 games so far this season with Bridgeport, Gallant has registered two goals, an assist and 71 penalty minutes. Last year, he had a goal and 73 penalty minutes in 17 games.
He has been in 11 fights this season, a role Brett accepts.
“I know they’re talking about taking it out of the game,” said Gallant. “I don’t agree with it.
“I think it’s always going to be part of the game. Just to be able to stick up for a teammate or get the team going – it’s huge for hockey. It’s something no other sport has. It’s a part of the game I hope they never want to take out.”
While being the fighter makes him a fan favourite with the home crowd, the 23-year-old said he thinks fans of opposing teams respect him, and don’t regard him as a dirty player.
“For me, I just want to play at the highest level I can,” Gallant added. “If that means I have to fight some, that’s fine.”
Bridgeport is currently tied for eighth place in the AHL’s Eastern Conference, but only two points out of first place in the razor-close Northeast Division. They’ve been on a roll of late, winning their last seven games.
Gallant is confident they will make the playoffs.
Gallant acknowledges he’s not one of the faster players on the team, and said that is an element of his game he constantly works to improve.
“I can see myself getting better every day,” he said.
While he admits the injury will set him back a bit, Gallant pointed out there are a lot of games to be played in March and early April. He intends to work hard to get back to top form.
Eric McCarthy is the western bureau manager of the Journal Pioneer. The "Islanders Away" feature appears every Thursday. If you would like to suggest an "Islander Away" for this feature, please do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.