HF Podcast: Brendan Gallagher, Vancouver Giants

By Glen Erickson

Brendan Gallagher of the Vancouver Giants has learned to brush off any notion that being selected in the ninth round of the 2007 Western Hockey League bantam draft comes with any stigma attached. In fact, when we reminded Gallagher that he was the 195th overall pick that year, his reaction bordered on “laugh out loud”.

And while most WHL teams chose to overlook the native of Delta, British Columbia a few years ago, they have not been able to game-plan against the Giants in recent memory without considering Gallagher’s potential impact on each and every outcome. Over the past three-and-a-half seasons, Gallagher has steadily developed into one of junior hockey’s elite offensive forwards. In 199 WHL games, Gallagher has scored 105 goals and 115 assists for 220 points, which includes 19 points in his first 10 games this season. He began the current campaign 71 points in arrears of the Giants career regular season points record of 274, held by Adam Courchaine.

At the 2010 National Hockey League entry draft, Gallagher was selected by the Montreal Canadiens in the fifth round, 147
th overall. He had a strong training camp this past September and returned to the Giants with some very definite personal goals. The 2011 Subway Series, set for two Saskatchewan cities in November, is on his radar, along with the hope that he can secure an invitation to Hockey Canada’s selection camp for the 2012 WJC in Alberta.

Last season, he was chosen to play in both Subway Series games, but was ultimately kept off the roster in the first game as Team WHL chose to add a local player to the mix for the game in Kamloops. One month later, Gallagher was cut from Canada’s entry for the 2011 WJC in Buffalo, New York.

Some creative research has unearthed a potentially interesting coincidence where Gallagher is concerned, perhaps lending some karma of sorts to his yet-to-be-written route to professional hockey. The last WHLer to be selected in the ninth round of the league’s bantam draft, then the fifth round of the NHL draft, is former Medicine Hat Tigers forward Darren Helm.

Helm, who earned a WJC gold medal with Team Canada in 200
7, has also already earned a Stanley Cup ring with the Detroit Red Wings. For his part, Gallagher finds the comparison interesting, but accepts that he has plenty of work to do to match Helm’s success.

On
the personal side, Gallagher has also utilized his standing with the Giants to create a successful fundraising promotion called Gally’s Goals for Cancer. Last season, in memory of his grandfather, Matt, he donated $20 for every Giants victory. The Giants also chipped with $100 for every goal Gallagher scored. With 35 wins and Gallagher’s 44 goals, combined with some additional donations from fans and other supporters, the grand total raised was $7,140. The fundraising venture is going strong again this season.

Gallagher checks in at 5’
8 and 175 pounds, not huge in stature, but enormous in heart and soul. Named the WHL’s Player of the Week on October 24, the 19-year-old has matured immensely during his junior career and has taken on every challenge and leadership responsibility that has come his way.

Hockey’s Future spoke with Giants head coach Don Hay on October 20, then later that evening with Gallagher, as the Giants arrived at Prospera Place to meet the
ir B.C. Division rivals, the Kelowna Rockets.

Click here if you’d like to download this HF Podcast with Brendan Gallagher