In the minds of Ian and Della, allowing Brendan to indulge his various sporting passions — namely golf and baseball in addition to hockey — was paramount. The primary parental motivation was surely to allow for a rounded existence, but an objective observer might have looked at a 15-year-old kid who was five-foot-two and 130 pounds and wondered if a non-contact sport was the way to go. Ian and Brendan, however, put great stock in the outlook of another B.C. boy, Paul Kariya, who always maintained a small frame was his advantage. They would talk about how that was especially true when the game contracted along the boards or in front of the net.
Gallagher was a ninth-round pick of the Giants in the 2007 WHL Bantam Draft, lived at home during his major-junior career and put up 81 points in 72 games facing an endless stream of punishing Western boys during his NHL draft-eligible season of 2009–10. One such bruiser, Milan Lucic, missed playing with Gallagher by a couple years in Vancouver, but got to know him well through workouts with Ian. Lucic leaned on his Bruins to pick Gallagher in 2010. Instead, it was the Canadiens who took a fifth-round flyer on a guy who, to this day, is filed under “average skill” in one pro scout’s spreadsheet, but scores off the charts in terms of self-awareness.
“I don’t think I had a choice,” Gallagher says of his unending work ethic. “I’m an undersized player who doesn’t skate the greatest, who doesn’t shoot the greatest; no real skill is going to jump out.
“The one thing [I’ve always said] is I’ve just had to out-work people. When you can do that, you kind of treat it like a skill. I’m fully aware of what I’ve got as a hockey player. I can be effective, but I have to go out there and work. When I’m not working, I’m not a very good player.”
Originally published at https://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/brendan-gallagher-montreal-canadiens-big-read/