Jason (Lefty) Gallant of Summerside has joined head coach Billy McGuigan’s staff for the 2017-18 MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) season.
“I’ve come full circle now,” said Gallant, 40. “I started out as a fan as a kid, started playing (with the Caps) in my teens and now the next step is to coach. . .
“It was something I always wanted to do.”
Gallant tended goal for the Caps for 2 ½ years from 1995 to 1997, and won a Canadian championship in Summerside in his final season.
“Jason’s going to take on the defensive role, and will be my primary assistant coach,” said McGuigan. “Thomas Waugh is staying on with the team, and will be here for all home games and practices.
“Thomas is getting busy with his work schedule, and he’s also doing his masters. He’s going to take a little time off from the travel.”
Gallant’s coaching resumé includes five years as head coach of Summerside’s midget AAA team, and he also has experience coaching young players at the novice and atom levels.
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Relationship with players
“The biggest thing with me coaching over the years is the relationship with the players,” said Gallant, who is married to Laura Peters. “The key to any coaching is to bring a good positive attitude, and a hard-work ethic.
“That is something I want to instill in the players, and it’s got me to where I had to go. I’m looking forward to passing that along to the players on this team, and build up some good relationships with them, try to make sure we get the best out of them and we are there for any needs they have throughout the season.”
Gallant, who admitted he enjoys working with young people, is employed with the Young Leaders Program and Strengthening Families Program at the Summerside Boys and Girls Club.
“It’s not just rewarding, but you learn a lot about how they persevere and how they’ve come through their struggles to get to where they are at today,” said Gallant. “It’s really helped me and I think it will help me with this job because it shows, even when their backs are up against the wall, they can still fight to get through it, and that’s what hockey teaches individuals.
“Even though things can get tough you have two options – you can either quit, or you can fight through it. That’s what hockey taught me, and it’s a great lesson for anybody to learn.”
Gallant is very excited to begin the new season.
“I’m excited to learn,” he added. “Yes, it’s been a few years since I’ve coached at a higher level, but I’ve heard great things about Billy.
“He’s a hard-working guy, very knowledgeable and he’s been around the game so long, and his passion for the game drew me back into coaching this year.”
Western Capitals’ hockey staff:
General manager – Pat McIver.
Head coach/assistant GM – Billy McGuigan.
Assistant coaches – Jason (Lefty) Gallant and Thomas Waugh.
Goaltending coach – Eric Morency.
Strength and conditioning coach – Joe Borden.
Team doctor – Dr. Billy Scantlebury.
Equipment manager/head athletic trainer – John Blanchard.
Assistant trainer – Heather Johnston.
Assistant equipment manager – Colby Profitt.
Governor/play-by-play – Jordan Ellis.