It may be the middle of summer and hockey may be the furthest thing from most people’s minds, however for 43 of the best under 17 players in Atlantic Canada, that statement couldn’t be further from the truth. Starting on Sunday July 15th in Antigonish, Nova Scotia the evaluation process begins for Team Atlantic’s entry to the 2013 World Under 17 Hockey Challenge.
Of the players invited, 35 come from Major Midget programs in the region and 7 from prep schools in Canada and the United States. The last remaining player comes from the PEI Minor Midget Hockey League. It is not too often that a minor midget player is invited to this particular camp but it does show that the leagues around Atlantic Canada are being watched and that if you are good enough you will be found.
Campbell Gallant is among the invitees and the lone minor midget player at the camp. He spent last season with the Mid-Isle Matrix program, where I had the pleasure of being his coach. Campbell finished tied for 2nd in team scoring and 3rd league wide, compiling 23 goals and 49 points.
With a knack for scoring big goals, Gallant scored 4 of the most important goals in Mid-Isle’s season. En route to a SPUD Tournament victory, he scored the overtime winner in the semi final against Halifax. During the last 2 games of the Provincial Finals Campbell scored both game winners and tallied 9 points overall including a 4 goal performance in the clinching game. The last goal of Gallants season proved to be the game winner again, this time at the Atlantic Minor Midget Championships.
No stranger to representing his Province, Campbell played for PEI at the Atlantic Challenge Cup at the Under 14, 15 and 16 levels. He was an assistant captain the last two years. He represented the PEI Rocket at the Quebec International Peewee Tournament and played in several tournaments in North America as part of the Andrews Hockey Program.
Having seen Campbell play for a couple years and coaching him last season the one thing that sticks out is his incredible release on his shot. The puck seems to explode off his stick and goalies rarely have time to react. Along with his shot Campbell believes his strength is his speed and the ability to fore-check aggressively. He believes that committing to an intense fitness program the last two summers has allowed him to bring his overall game to another level.
“I am trying to work on the mental aspects of the game” says Gallant “trying to learn how to be mentally prepared for every situation.” This statement shows to me that the one area I saw as room for improvement has already been identified by Campbell and he has begun working towards making it a strength. If he commits to improving the mental areas as well as he does with his off ice training and his on ice improvements there is no telling how far Campbell can go.
Gallant’s long term goals are to “hopefully get drafted by a QMJHL team or maybe play for a great school like UPEI someday” he says “but if I continue to work hard and try to improve everyday, who knows where the sport may take me.”
With the under 17 camp next week and another hockey season just around the corner, Campbell wants to make a good impression on the coaching staff next week with his speed and team play and follow it up by filling a major role with the Charlottetown Islanders of the NB-PEI Major Midget League. “I see my self as a power forward type with scoring ability,” said Campbell “and that’s the role I hope to fill with the Islanders next season.” Most people would think a player coming from minor midget would be happy with just being invited to the under 17 camp, not this player “for now I have my mind set on making team Atlantic” said Gallant.
Team Atlantic summer evaluation runs from July 15-19 and continues during the first part of next season. The roster will be announced shortly after the Monctonian Midget AAA Tournament in November. The World Under 17 Hockey Challenge takes place December 28-January 4 in Victoriaville and Drummondville, Quebec. The tournament consists of 5 Canadian teams and 5 International teams.