Gally embracing leadership role
Defenceman, Dalton Gally was at a crossroads in his junior hockey career back in October. The 20-year-old was facing the prospect of being the odd man out on the backend in Medicine Hat, he wasn’t sure what the future held for him. Then things changed when he got a call on the over-age deadline day, October 10th that he had been traded to the Kelowna Rockets.
Originally a sixth-round pick of the Calgary Hitmen at the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft, Gally never played a game for Calgary. The 20-year-old Texan defenceman suited up for 135-games for the Tigers before heading to the Okanagan. Gally wasn’t shocked to be traded, he was excited for another chance but says it was hard to say to his old team.
“It was tough going from an organization and teammates that you truly love, to have to say goodbye to them so soon like that,” said Gally. “But I looked at Kelowna as a brand new opportunity, had I stayed in Medicine Hat I would’ve been scratched and might not have been playing anymore. One minute you’re looking at the end of your career potentially, then next minute a new opportunity pops up. I’m here to give everything that I have, I eternally grateful to be playing in the Western Hockey League and for the Kelowna Rockets.”
Before joining the Rockets, Gally was held pointless in the five games he played with the Tigers this season. In 26 games with the Rockets the 6’5, 227-pound defender has seven assists and 36 penalty minutes. He isn’t afraid to be the first player into a scrum when it comes to protecting his goaltender or other teammates either.
Kelowna lost a handful of veteran leaders from the previous season; Kole Lind, Dillon Dube, Devante Stephens, Carsen Twarynskiand Cal Foote all departed for the American Hockey League. While defencemen Gordie Ballhorn and James Hilsendager had both graduated from the WHL. Gally knew that coming in he would have to step up to the plate and provide his veteran leadership.
“I knew that they had lost some of the older guys. I just wanted to come in and provide a shoulder for my new teammates, if they needed help I wanted to be there for them.”
After arriving in Kelowna, Gally was partnered with Finish rookie Lassi Thomson. The two have created a bond, often Gally is one of the last players off the ice at practice helping Thomson pick up pucks and collect water bottles.
“I told him that I’m here for him, he has actually taught me some things offensively. We’ve created code words for on the ice, to get around the language barrier.”
Whether it’s being a leader in the dressing room or on the ice Gally is there for his teammates. While he won’t be here for the 2020 Memorial Cup, he knows that by helping the younger players his leadership instincts will be a part of the run to the Cup, even if he’s not physically on the roster.