Waterloo Region Record

He won’t give up

Logan Gallagher is the only free agent at Rangers camp

- JOSH BROWN Waterloo Region Record

Meet the determined long shot at Rangers training camp

KITCHENER — Logan Gallagher impressed the Kitchener Rangers once. Now, he’s trying to do it again.

The 17-year-old centre is on a bit of an island at the team’s training camp, which hosted a pair of scrimmages Tuesday at the Aud.

Of the 38 players invited to the three-day tryout, Gallagher is the sole free agent. Every other player on the ice is either signed or drafted by the Ontario Hockey League club.

“It’s just an honour to be here,” said the Courtice native. “It’s a nice step but the work isn’t done yet.”

Gallagher is no stranger to the red, white and blue.

This past spring the forward was invited to Kitchener’s rookie camp and it wasn’t just his long flowing blond locks that stood out.

“He was the one guy that kind of caught our eye,” said Rangers general manager Mike McKenzie.

“He was the one guy that was invited back.”

Like every free agent, Gallagher has a story.

At five-foot-10 and 160 pounds, he’s not the biggest player.

However, he showcased a nice mix of skill and grit by potting a dozen goals and adding 102 penalty minutes during his minor midget season with the Clarington Toros.

“I thought I was going to go in the OHL draft and I was pretty heartbroke­n when I didn’t,” he said. “I just moved forward. I used it as motivation.”

Gallagher latched on with the Brockville Tikis, a Jr. B outfit in the Central Canada Hockey League 2 this past season and put up 15 goals and 18 assists with 116 penalty minutes in 38 games as a rookie.

“He might be a little bit of a later bloomer,” said Andrew Dickson, who coached the Tikis last season.

“By the time he’s 18 and starts filling out with his talent, and some good coaching, he’s going to be somebody.”

That promise put him on the Rangers’ radar and he continued to impress the team’s scouting staff when he attended Kitchener’s spring camp last April.

“He just came into camp and worked really hard,” said McKenzie.

“He played hard and gritty and everyone kind of took notice. We figured if he comes in and plays like that, he’ll make our (training) camp real competitiv­e.”

Gallagher, who was also invited to Windsor’s training camp but declined, understand­s that he’s a long shot to make the club. But it has happened before. Jonathan Yantsis, who potted 50 goals last season, and graduating veteran defenceman Kyle Gentles both parlayed free-agent tryouts into meaningful OHL careers. Moreover, this year’s Rangers team is young and there are spots up front to be had now and down the road. “I’m coming in with an open mind and I’m going to work as hard as I can,” said Gallagher. “I’ve learned that you have to work hard at this level always and that you can’t take any time off. You just always have to go for it.”

THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING: Tickets for the CanadaRuss­ia series at the Aud go on sale Sept. 3. The game — on Nov. 7 — is part of a six-match showcase that pits Russia’s top junior players against the best of the OHL, WHL and QMJHL. Since its inception, CHL teams are 63-25-2-6. Tickets are $24 and available online and at the Aud or the Centre in the Square.

 ?? PETER LEE WATERLOO REGION RECORD ?? Kitchener Rangers free-agent forward Logan Gallagher looks to make his mark at the team’s training camp this week.
PETER LEE WATERLOO REGION RECORD Kitchener Rangers free-agent forward Logan Gallagher looks to make his mark at the team’s training camp this week.

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