By Gord Montgomery
Spruce Grove Examiner
No matter where a hockey career may take a young man, home is where the heart is, so needless to say Spencer Galbraith is making the most of what transpired recently in his hockey life.
Galbraith, a four-year veteran of the Western Hockey League (WHL) recently found himself cut adrift by the Lethbridge Hurricanes so he simply drove up Hwy. 2 to return home to the Grove and to start skating for the Jr. A Saints.
And so far, it’s been a perfect fit. To date he’s scored twice, including one game-winner, and added four helpers in the nine games he’s been part of the Saints blue line corps.
Galbraith said this wasn’t how he saw things going but he’ll make the most of his present situation.
“Obviously this wasn’t the plan,” he began, “but things sometimes don’t work out. The Saints are a good team, it’s a good place to play, so I’m excited to be back.”
The Saints bench boss, Jason Mckee, agreed he was happy to have the Grove product in his lineup on a nightly basis.
“Spencer’s a kid that has brought us up for sure. He’s an intense player and he’s logged a lot minutes.
“Spencer is the guy on the power play that’s pretty dynamic. He’s a pretty good disher (passer), he’s willing to shoot the puck and I think he’s brought us something there. He brings us energy, no question, and he’s been a good fit so far, for sure.”
Asked if he was taking this move to the AJHL from the WHL as a demotion Galbraith said that wasn’t his approach to the move.
“No. This is a really good league. Obviously it’s definitely not a promotion, nothing against the league or anything. It was a personal choice on my part to come back, try to get my game back, work on a few things, and that’s what I’ve been trying to do. It’s a good experience to be back here. It’s fun.”
Mckee likewise sees Galbraith as making the most of his present situation and not moping about what might have been.
“He made a personal choice to come back to Spruce Grove for reasons of his own and we were obviously willing to have him here. The biggest thing was we had a conversation and he realized through that conversation it is a good league and you can’t take things for granted. If you do that, it’s going to set you back two weeks to a month and he recognized that early, came in, and really played well for us. I think the biggest thing is, he’s happy, having fun, and we’re happy to have him.”
Galbraith, who played his minor hockey here until leaving for the WHL, said he feels his style of play – a puck-moving d-man with good speed is a great fit for the AJHL.
“I did a lot of that in midget, more so than the Dub. It’s a little harder in the Dub so I’ve come back here to get some confidence and I think that’s been happening.”
As the Saints begin to put their pieces of the puzzle together with this young team, the former Grover and his coach, both said they think this club is going to go a long way this year from what Galbraith brings each day and what he shows his young teammates.
“He’s involved, that’s the biggest thing,” said Mckee. “He never takes a shift off, he’s affecting the game in a different way from shift to shift. I think that’s what the younger guys notice most about him; that’s what I notice most. He’s a good teammate, brings energy and that influence of having a veteran guy that can play all situations is good for us.”
Asked what his future holds, Galbraith said he has one year of junior eligibility left and he now feels he knows where he wants to spend it – on home ice.
“I want to pursue hockey as long as I can and play hockey here again next year, hopefully. I want to play for as long as I can, and enjoy it,” sort of like one enjoys home cooking after being away for a while.