Brendan GallagherProfessional Athlete Of The Year - 2013 - Ice Hockey
Vancouver Giants’ Coach Don Hay referred to Brendan Gallagher as a “really smart, young guy” who understood the game well. Known at the time for his flashy skill and bulldog nature, Brendan developed an ability to chase the puck with reckless abandon. He eventually earned the reputation as a fast-skating scorer who played with energy and aggression, making him adept at playing in both offensive and defensive situations. These qualities have obviously served him well because, at twenty years of age, he now plays a leading role in the NHL for the Montreal Canadiens.
Brendan, a product of the South Delta Minor Hockey Association, was a ninth-round pick of the Vancouver Giants in the 2007 WHL bantam draft. During his four year junior career with the Giants, he received WHL West First All-Star Team honours in 2010-2011 and became the Vancouver Giants’ all-time leading goal and point scorer. In anticipation of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, he was identified among the top North American prospects, earning a 152nd ranking by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau. At the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, the Montreal Canadiens selected Brendan in the 5th round as the 147th overall pick. Internationally, he won a bronze medal with Canada at the 2012 IIHF U20 World Junior Championships. Appearing in his second training camp with the Canadiens, Gallagher competed for a roster spot, remaining with the team until the final days leading up to the 2011-2012 NHL season. After being returned to junior, the Canadiens signed him to a three-year, entry-level contract on November 16, 2011.
This past season, his first as a professional, Brendan was directly assigned to the Canadiens’ AHL affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs, due to the 2012-2013 NHL lockout. Upon resolution, he was recalled to the Canadiens for the shortened season. As the season approached its midway point, the former Giants star had scored 6 goals and 7 assists for 13 points in 19 games along with a plus-10 rating for the first-place Montreal Canadiens. By season’s end, he had scored 15 goals and 13 assists for 28 points in 44 games. In five Stanley Cup Playoff games, he had scored two goals.
Brendan Gallagher has made the NHL in his first year as a professional, which in itself is a very significant achievement. He has proven to be a difference maker on a team with many young, talented and developing players. This is not surprising to the people who have known him for as long as Vancouver Giants owner Ron Toigo and GM Scott Bonner have, who feel that his work ethic exceeds that of the competition. Evidently, this has been recognized by the NHL. On May 6, 2013, Brendan was nominated for the Calder Memorial Trophy, emblematic of the NHL’s Rookie of the Year.