The rugged forward and his teammates with the Lake Erie Monsters had just won the 2015-16 American Hockey League (AHL) championship.
“I may never get a chance at the Stanley Cup, but that feeling I got was pretty amazing,” said Gallant, who captained the Summerside Western Capitals to the 2009 MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) and Eastern Canadian junior A hockey championships. “It is hard to top the one (MHL) in Summerside, because you won it in front of your family in your hometown.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever duplicate that feeling, but this was pretty darn close.”
The Monsters, who are the top development team of the Columbus Blue Jackets, pulled out a dramatic 1-0 overtime win on Saturday night to sweep the Hershey Bears. Gallant was not dressed for the title-clinching victory, but he and the other scratches were on the ice in full gear for the post-game celebrations.
“We have a great group of guys, and we are a close team,” said Gallant, who is looking forward to returning to P.E.I. late this week. “That made it even more special.”
When it came time for the 27-year-old son of Mike (Pinky) and Patricia Gallant of Summerside to hoist the Calder Cup, he immediately thought of his family members.
“My parents, they have supported me through everything, the tough times and I had a big scare this year and my wife (Jenessa) was there for me,” answered Gallant. “Obviously, they are a part of deciding where we are going to sign, but my wife and two kids travel around with me wherever I have to go.”
That scare occurred during a game in Toronto on April 8.
“I had a hard shift, but it was nothing out of the normal,” recalled Gallant. “I got back to the bench, and my heart was beating and it wouldn’t settle down.
“As I started to panic it got faster and that’s all I remember. I passed out (on the bench) and came to in the dressing room.”
Tests revealed Gallant had a rapid heartbeat.
“They (doctors) told me straight up I couldn’t play hockey again until I had the operation,” said Gallant, who underwent the successful procedure the following day.
Gallant, known for a second-to-none work ethic and passion for the sport, worked hard to be in a position to rejoin the Monsters following the surgery. He returned to Lake Erie’s lineup for Game 3 against Hershey, and had an immediate impact – assisting on the Monsters’ first goal.
“I was just happy to be a part of it,” said Gallant. “I don’t care about the points, just being part of a winner.”
Brett Gallant’s career resume:
59 games with the Summerside Western Capitals of the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League).
131 games with the Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
53 games in the East Coast Hockey League.
236 games in the American Hockey League.
4 games in the National Hockey League.
Note: All statistics are for regular-season games.