Same goal, different path for Galley

Above: Langley Chiefs goaltender Wyatt Galley readies for a shot as defenceman Dillon Scholten keeps Penticton’s Steven Iacobellis at bay during Saturday night’s hockey game at the Langley Events Centre.

Above: Langley Chiefs goaltender Wyatt Galley readies for a shot as defenceman Dillon Scholten keeps Penticton’s Steven Iacobellis at bay during Saturday night’s hockey game at the Langley Events Centre.

Frequently on the move as a child, Wyatt Galley still found it to be a positive experience.

Such is the life of the family of an NHL player, who could be packing up for a new locale every off-season.

Galley’s dad Garry, played for six teams over an 18-year career.

There was Boston, where Wyatt was born, and then Philadelphia, Buffalo, Los Angeles and then finally the New York Islanders. That doesn’t include L.A. and Washington, his dad’s stops prior to Boston.

Moving around may have been a hassle for the family, but the positives still outweighed the negatives.

“I was fortunate enough to see him play for the first half of my life,” he said. “Moving around so much was tough, but I am thankful I went through that experience.”

The prolonged absences when his dad was on the road, and the frequent moves were tough, but Galley looked at it as good experience.

“I grew accustomed to it in the sense I always understood because it was a dream of mine to do the same thing,” Galley said.

“And I always enjoyed the new experiences and going to different places and getting to play hockey in different places around the U.S. and stuff.

“It was not a negative thing for me growing up.”

Following his dad’s retirement in 2001, the family settled in Ottawa, where his dad got into broadcasting, first with Sportsnet, and then the CBC.

And while dad was busying himself with a new career, the younger Galley was also making a transition: from defenceman to goaltender.

Galley had been pining to try goal for the past couple of seasons, and after some balking, his parents finally relented and allowed him to give it a shot.

“The first time I was on the ice as a goalie, it was a lot of fun right away,” he admitted.

“I like to be the other team’s main competition, the guy who can win the game for the team.”

And Galley has proved adept at just that: piling up the victories. His numbers may not be spectacular — a 3.50 goals against average and a .904 save percentage, ranking him 22nd and 13th, respectively — but the stat that really counts is victories. Galley is sixth in the league with 19 wins.

It was during his first full year of junior A, as a 17-year-old, when Galley went 17-2-1 for the Neapan Raiders, that he began to realize that he had a chance to go places in the game. Schools began recruiting Galley and midway through last season, he left home for Langley and the BCHL.

The league is considered tops among junior A in Canada, routinely attracting players from across the country west as they look to secure an NCAA scholarship.

Galley has accepted a scholarship to join the Bowling Green Falcons in the fall. The school happens to be his dad’s alma matter and the elder Galley helped the Falcons win the 1984 championship.

“He has really grown, there is an adjustment coming into our league,” said Langley coach and general manager Harvey Smyl. “He is a competitor and wants to win as bad as anybody.”