Keiran Gallant is one step closer to living out a childhood dream.
The 17-year-old Covehead native impressed during the Charlottetown Islanders’ rookie camp and was invited to the main camp Saturday night. He stepped on the ice Sunday with the returning players as training camp hit its second wave.
“When I was younger, I always came to the games and it’s been a dream of mine to be able to play on a home team like this and hopefully I get that shot,” he said Sunday at the APM Centre in Cornwall.
The Islanders drafted Gallant in the 13th round (226th overall) of the 2018 draft after he played two seasons at Stanstead College in Quebec. He played for the Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild major midget squad in 2018-19 and said getting lots of ice time helped build his confidence and prepared him for this year’s major junior camp.
“The coaching staff there really helped me. We had a really good year,” he said.
Gallant, who was drafted in the first round of the junior A draft by Truro this year, leads the Islanders in scoring during the pre-season with three points (two goals and an assist) in three games.
He has spent the past few days on a line with Patrick LeBlanc, who starred with the Moncton Flyers major midget squad a year ago, and Swiss import Gaetan Jobin.
“It’s been awesome,” Gallant said. “I played . . . against LeBlanc. He’s a terrific player and same with Jobin.”
After the Islanders’ 4-2 loss on Saturday to a more-experienced Acadie-Bathurst Titan squad, the Islanders cut 13 players. Gallant was among the four forwards and nine players asked to stick around.
“I didn't know what to expect, but I’m happy to still be here and will keep working hard and see how things go,” he said.
Islanders’ head coach and general manager Jim Hulton said Gallant has been one of the pleasant surprises at camp.
“He jumped out at you every game,” he said. “He drove the engine on a lot of plays throughout camp and deserves to be here.”
Gallant’s skating was a key to his success, as Hulton said his feet were always moving, which allowed him to create chaos.
“It’s probably my best attribute,” said Gallant, who considers himself a playmaker who doesn't mind grinding it out along the boards.
The Islanders currently have 25 players in camp and will have to make a couple of decisions before finalizing its roster.