BY MATT MACKINDER
Clarkston News Editor
Fingernails may be a bit shorter in the Gallagher household these days, but it was all worth it when the Boston Bruins selected Ty Gallagher in the seventh round of the 2021 NHL Draft, which was held virtually last weekend.
Mock drafts and rankings had the 18-year-old Clarkston resident ranked as high as No. 53 among North American skaters, which projected him taken in the second or third round of the seven-round draft.
Instead, Gallagher saw his name come across the screen with the 217th overall selection last Saturday afternoon.
“It’s definitely a surreal feeling,” said Gallagher. “Wherever you go in the draft, it’s always an honor. It hasn’t quite sunk in yet, and I’m sure it won’t until I actually put on the jersey for my first game, but it’s a great feeling and it’s super exciting.”
More than 60 family and friends congregated at the Gallagher home to celebrate the day with Ty, his parents Anita and Pete, and his sister, Kiley.
“It got pretty loud and there were a couple names that came up that were close to mine,” said Gallagher. “Everyone was starting to get a little antsy and going crazy, but when my name finally popped up, everyone went crazy, and I jumped out of my seat like everyone else. Hugs everywhere.
“It was definitely nerve-racking it took so long, but I have confidence in myself, and I have confidence in my game. I knew some team was going to take a chance and it didn’t matter when or who. I’m just so grateful to be drafted by such a great organization in the Boston Bruins.”
The Bruins have proved to be a perennial Stanley Cup contender in recent years, winning the Stanley Cup last in 2011 and making it to the Stanley Cup Final in 2019, falling to the St. Louis Blues.
After the draft was complete, Gallagher jumped on a Zoom call with members of the Boston media and then took a phone call from the Bruins’ Director of Player Development and Player Personnel Advisor Jamie Langenbrunner, a Stanley Cup winner with the Dallas Stars in 1999 and New Jersey Devils in 2003.
“He called me and told me about the team’s upcoming development camp and what I need to do, when it is, and what to bring,” Gallagher said of the camp in Boston early next month.
Ironically enough, Gallagher is enrolled at Boston University looking to major in Business or Finance and taking summer classes. He will play for the Terriers’ NCAA Division I hockey team in the powerhouse Hockey East conference and said it will be a great time playing college hockey with his NHL team close by.
“It’s definitely the perfect situation with the Bruins right down the street,” said Gallagher. “I’m sure they’ll be keeping a close eye on me, for sure. I love it there. It definitely has a home feeling and it’s just great. I’m just looking to earn as many opportunities as I can (at BU) and work with my coaching staff to make sure I’m in the best possible role for my development and for my team’s development. I’m hoping to make a huge impact my first year, make the lineup, stay in the lineup, and hopefully help the team win a national championship.”
“Our coaching staff was excited to hear Ty’s name called by Boston today,” BU head coach Albie O’Connell said last Saturday. “He’s a great kid who has a great attitude and a great work ethic. We expect him to make an impact on our program, both on and off the ice.”
For the past two seasons, Gallagher played for USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program in Plymouth and set the NTDP record for goals by a defenseman with 25 during his two seasons with the program. He collected 27 points (14 goals, 13 assists) in 48 games with the team in 2020-21 and led all defensemen in goals (three) at the 2021 IIHF Under-18 World Championship, which was held in the Dallas area this past spring.
“I got a lot of opportunity down there,” said Gallagher. “Got a lot of playing time and got to play a lot of minutes, and I thought I excelled with that opportunity. I think it boosted my draft stock and gave me the best chance possible for this draft.”
On top of that, Gallagher was able to graduate with his Clarkston High School Class of 2021 and walk across the stage at DTE Energy Music Theatre by virtue of being in the Clarkston Virtual program for the past school year while playing hockey nearly 30 miles away in Plymouth.
“It was really cool, and it was definitely a plus after the year we had with COVID,” said Gallagher. “It was so fun being able to walk with my classmates and to see everyone again and share that special moment with all of them and the people I grew up with.”
While celebrating Saturday, Gallagher noted getting drafted is the culmination of many years of family sacrifice for him to be able to chase his passion. On top of his parents and sister, Gallagher said the list of folks that have helped him get closer to his dream is extensive.
“I have to thank all my coaches, teammates and strength coaches,” said Gallagher. “Honestly, everyone has been a part of this. Yeah, it’s me getting drafted, but it’s also everyone around me that has affected me getting drafted, too. It’s a huge thanks to everyone that have always been in touch with me in the hockey world and outside of the hockey world. I definitely give it to them and owe it to them.”
Gallagher noted growing up, he played multiple sports, but it wasn’t until 4-5 years ago hockey took over.
“I’d say I was always one of the better players on my teams,” said Gallagher. “It was probably in my seventh or eighth grade year where I got super serious and narrowed it down to just hockey after cutting out football, baseball and basketball. I really started taking hockey seriously and that’s when my coaches and advisor started saying that I could take this sport to the next level.”
Now NHL property, Gallagher said he’ll take a year-by-year approach to hockey. If he signs a pro contract, he forfeits his remaining collegiate eligibility.
“It’ll be based on my play and what the Boston Bruins need,” Gallagher said. “If they offer me a contract, we’ll talk about it then.”