Season Recap: Brett GallantJul 22, 2020
With close to 400 professional hockey games under his belt, Brett Gallant’s experience translated to a strong level of leadership that the Cleveland Monsters depended on during a unique 2019-20 season.
Gallant was able to easily fall into a guidance role no matter where the situation led him, a fact that was not lost on Monsters Head Coach Mike Eaves who was back in the American Hockey League for the first time since the early 90s.
“Brett helped me grow a little from where I used to coach in the AHL to now because you can only have so many veterans on your roster. What I really admired was that he was a veteran who understood what his job was,” said Eaves. “His influence in the locker room was what really stood out for me right away. The players watched how he carried himself, especially the younger guys, and he did not mope or complain.”
As the season continued, veteran space was freed up on the Monsters roster due to call ups and injures, and Gallant’s ice time began to increase. By the end of December, Gallant was a consistent part of the lineup and wore the ‘A’ on his jersey as a reflection of his leadership.
“Here was a veteran guy who really was not playing as much as he wanted to, but he recognized and accepted his role and then really excelled at it. When his time did come, he went out and worked his fanny off,” said Eaves. “He got out there and did the things he needed to do, and that sends a big message to our younger guys on how they should conduct themselves.”
Gallant’s presence was also a welcome sight to the crowd with the Summerside, PEI, native, being a widely known fan favorite both on and off the ice.
Outside of the rink, Gallant and his family made the Cleveland area their second home which included his son, Jack, being a part of the local youth hockey community. As a part of the Monsters organization for five years, Brett engrossed himself in helping the Northeast Ohio community and consistently brought Jack along to appearances.
On the ice, Gallant finished off the 2019-20 season playing in his 205th game as a Monster and joined the franchise record books. Between his experience, strong on-ice mentality and leadership, Gallant rounded out the campaign as a memorable player for the fans to watch and a vital part of the team for the coaching staff.
“Having that influence in the locker room is one thing that all coaches look for because we are only in there for a certain amount of time,” said Eaves. “When you leave, you need to have your older guys carry the message and bang the drum. Brett was one of those guys who did that for us.”