|Posted by roamingtherinks on February 20, 2011 at 12:35 PM|
I am a very lucky hockey fan to live in the Elmira area. It is home to the Elmira Jackals, known for a few years as one of the tougher teams in minor league hockey. The team in fact led the ECHL in fights last season. This year when it was announced that enforcer Brett Gallant was returning I figured we were in for another fun year. Sadly the "new NHL" mentality has invaded Elmira with the arrival of our new coach Malcolm Cameron. The net result has seen our tough guy sitting in the stands more often than not, stricken with the label of a healthy scratch. Gallant played just 13 games before the New Year when a blockbuster announcement was made and "Nasty" Jon Mirasty was being reassigned from Syracuse to the Jackals. I won't get into the politics of the transaction as this move had Syracuse fans fuming. Having Mirasty on our roster now immediately resulted in Cameron releasing Gallant. So rather than have what could have been the modern day equivalent of the Bruise Brothers, in Probert/Kocur style, we were left with just Mirasty.
Sure enough Mirasty's place on the bench became a place in the stands and the Jackals continued to play with little toughness. How in the world do you sit 2 entertaining, hard nosed guys in the stands in favor of a marginal fourth liner who might get a point every 4 or 5 games? You got me on that one, but nonetheless both Mirasty and Gallant would have their revenge after being relegated to the stands. Mirasty only ended up with 8 games on the Jackals and not a single fight as it appears coach's orders to keep the gloves on were in full effect. Ultimately Mirasty has been reassigned to a more appreciative Fort Wayne Komets of the CHL. How does one team pass on 2 players who not only can protect their teammates but also can sell tickets with their dynamic fights? It doesn't really matter now as both players have had their revenge.
Mirasty was able to throw down with Garrett Klotz in his first appearance in Fort Wayne and is now in a better place. He can now fight in front of 8,000 or more happy fans every night and not have to linger in the purple plastic seats of First Arena in Elmira.
As for Gallant, he is still a kid at 22, and has a good career ahead of him. He ended up getting picked up by the Jackals' arch rival the Reading Royals after getting waived, and has picked up 5 fights and 3 points in a dozen games for the Royals. Better yet he got a well deserved call up to Bridgeport of the AHL where he has been up for 5 games and has shown he is willing to take on the heavies of the AHL. This toe-to-toe war with former Q rival Joel Rechlicz may end up as fight of the year.
So next time you see a tough guy sitting in the stands at your local arena let them know there is hope for revenge, and a great comeback. For you fans that still have the opportunity to see rough and tough hockey in your town- don't miss out, buy a ticket and get ready to cheer, you never know how quickly your town can be turned into a Euro-hockey ghost town. For now I will still go to the games as I already paid for the season tickets, but I will have to check YouTube in the morning to get my hockey fight fill. I am hoping that just as quickly that the Jackals toughness has deteriorated that it can be restored next year with the same vigor. I have come to appreciate how lucky I was the last couple years to see guys willing to lay it on the line every night for their team. Don't worry about Gallant or Mirasty though, what they do is too valuable to be in the stands for long.