Brendan Gallagher and Ty Smith will have to put their friendship behind them next season

Published August 20, 2021 at 5:55 PM

Montreal Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher and New Jersey Devils defenseman Ty Smith are great friends. For several years now, the two men have spent their off-seasons training, along with several other hockey players, on the rinks in Delta, British Columbia. Smith has even lived in the Habs forward's home for the past three off-seasons, finally renting his own place this summer.

Their friendship goes back a long, long way. The young Smith was playing, during the 2014-15 season, at the Delta City Hockey Academy, which was then run by Ian Gallagher, Brendan's father. What's more, the father of the number 11 is the one who leads the training group of which the two comrades are part. With the same agent, Gerry Johansson, Gallagher and Smith have every reason to be friends.

However, the 2021-22 season will mark the beginning of the confrontations, at the professional level, between the two players. Due to the realignment of divisions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Ty Smith's Devils did not face the Habs once during their young defenseman's rookie season. As they themselves mention, their off-ice friendship shouldn't be a hindrance to the development of a small rivalry between their respective teams.

"I'm looking forward to these games, I know Brendan will be on my case," Smith told The Province daily. "But we're already doing it here [in Delta]. We're fighting hard. Whenever there are match situations to practice like one-on-one or two-on-two matchups, we always try to battle each other."

"It's going to be a little strange [playing against Gallagher in a game], but I think at the same time, it's going to be fun," added the 21-year-old back, who seems to be looking forward to crossing swords with his friend.

Gallagher, meanwhile, has a lot more experience than his young friend, having earned a reputation for being a pest since he entered the big League in 2012. Smith will have to be ready, because the Habs little agitator will not give him any special treatment.

"I'll tell him that right now: he's going to try to smile and joke around with me, but he's not going to get much from me. Maybe he'll get a glove on his face real quick and then I'll smile at him," he predicted.

On the other hand, he may be a veteran and one of the leaders in the Montreal Canadiens' dressing room, but Gally knows what Smith will have to go through. The Edmonton native did have a run-in with tough guy Triston Grant in his first season with the Hamilton Bulldogs in 2012. Wearing a Grand Rapids Griffins uniform at the time, Grant was not shy about physically harassing the then young prospect, despite spending the previous three summers training with Grant's family.

"Anyone who knows T knows I shouldn't have tried to talk to him on the ice," Gallagher admitted of Grant, who was known as a tough guy with the Vancouver Giants, his former junior team. "Some guys are more laid back than others. Some guys are not. I played against [Milan] Lucic in the playoffs. We didn't talk. He did his thing with his team, I did mine. Then, when you see each other again after it's all over, you get back to normal."

In short, knowing Gallagher's habit of stirring up trouble wherever he goes, the clashes between the two friends are likely to be very interesting to watch. However, we'll have to wait until the holiday season to see them in action, with the next Devils vs Canadiens scheduled for December 23.

Source: TVA Sports
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