Nice story I found in a WHA program from 1974
NOTHING "GALLANT" ABOUT GORD
170 POUNDS OF HIGH EXPLOSIVES
Remember Captain Gallant, the one time television hero who galloped his white stallion across the sand dunes from Timbuktu to Zanzibar pulling his French Foreign Legonnaires out of tough scapes?
Well Gord Gallant(no relation of course) sort of sees himself in a similar role with the Minnesota Fighting Saints.
Signed out of the Saints free agent camp, Gallant said in a no-if-ands-or-buts tone:"This team needs some muscle and I am willing to supply if the best I can. I know when I have to do if I want to stay. As long as I'm around nobody, and I mean nobody is going to take runs at our little guys. I'm not concerned with protecting guys like John Arbour and Dick Paradise. Those guys can take care of themselves. But we've got a few players who aren't cut out for the rough stuff, I am."
As hockey tough guys go, Gallant wouldn't be so labeled on first impressions. Oh he has a mustache which along with the shaggy reddish-blond hair gives him a sinister look. But you would never call him burly. He has only 172 pounds hanging on his 5-foot-11 frame.
Gallant's first WHA game with the Saints was a smashing success. Not only did the left wing score a goal that helped the home team to a 5-4 victory against Vancouver, he also became involved in a bench-clearing incident near the end of the contest. If you missed it here's a replay of events on opening night.
The Saints were nursing a 5-4 lead and were a bit frustrated since they had bombed Vancouver goalie Yves Archambault with more shots than the Allies launched at Normandy. With about 90 seconds left Vancouver player-coach Wayne Connelly had a stick joust outside the faceoff circle following a Vancouver penalty. Saint coach Harry Neale figured that was a mismatch and instructed Gallant to get out there and even things up.
Gallant was over the boards and onto the ice before Neale finished his sentence. "I was hoping the coach would put me out. I wanted to see if Mckenzie was going to push me."
It was a good move by Neale although unfortunately illegal. The time for substitutions had passed and the referee ordered Gallant and Vancouver defensemen Dave Hutchison(who came out to replace McKenzie) back to the bench.
As McKenzie came back on he skated over to the Saints bench and told Neale what he though of the strategy. At about the same time Gallant glided past the Vancouver bench and heard Don O'Donoughue utter something. "I know O'Donoughue from the days when we were both with the California Seals" said Gallant. "I just called him a donkey. He put up his stick. The next thing I knew the coach was taking a swing at McKenzie. Then all hell broke loose."
Gallant ended up paired off with Hutchison and held his own until the officals seperated the combatants and started dispensing penalties like an Army physician hands out aspirin.
Afterwards McKenzie called Gallant "nothing more than a thug. He's a football player not a hockey player" snapped McKenzie. "I guess McKenzie just wanted his name in the paper" said Gallant. "Who is he calling a football player? Me? I'm fighting a guy who is 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds. Who looks like the football player?"
Hutchison and Gallant had a skirmish last season when both were in the Eastern Hockey League. "It was the best fight I had all year." said Gallant who played for Syracuse farm club of the Cleveland Crusaders. "I beat him to a pulp. There was another fight. He jumped in so I jumped in. He caught me with the first punch but then I got him off balance, pulled his sweater up over his head and he never touched me the rest of the fight."
It was one of several bouts Gallant had in the EHL last year when he scored 17 goals and 34 assists and was whistled for 231 minutes in penalties - all in just 53 games of a 78 game schedule. "I missed a few games because of a shoulder injury and was suspended a couple of times for brawls." said Gallant matter-of-factly.
He was also suspended in the EHL playoff finals against Roanoke Valley. "I decked a guy, Wayne Horn of Roanoke. The officals called it an intent to injure. It was kind of silly. After all when you bust somebody it isn't with intent to make them feel good."
Gallant earned a reputation as a rugged ask-no-quarter-gave-none hockey player in his last two seasons as a Junior with Halifax. Although the regular season was only 40 games long, he collected more than 200 penalties in each season. "I lead the league 2 years in a row" he says proudly.