Defenseman John Gallant, the all-time leader in Colorado Mammoth history in loose balls and games played, announced his retirement on Friday following a 14-year NLL career that saw him suit up for a single franchise.
Not the tallest, not the biggest, not the fastest … none of that ever stopped Gallant. The Brantford, Ontario native was one of the smartest defenders of his generation, leaning heavily on technique and preparation. Gallant was the captain of the Mammoth in 2010 and 2011, and also donned the ‘A’ on his jersey two other times.
“The personal relationships I have gained as a Mammoth player that will be lifelong friendships are the memories I am most fond of,” said Gallant.
The work of a defenseman may never seem glamorous. But for Gallant, slowing down the opposition was his life’s calling. And in 2012, he earned perhaps the greatest accolade of his professional career when he was one of 10 players named to the Mammoth’s All-Decade Team.
Gallant’s retirement marks a changing of the guard, a new age for the Mammoth franchise. He began his NLL career with the Washington Power in 2002. Months later, when the team moved to Denver, Colo., Gallant followed.
“When relocating to a new city, you never know what to expect,” said the defenseman. “But the City of Denver has provided a wonderful fan-base ever since our first exhibition game. Our success as a franchise is the direct result of our passionate fans.”
Gallant was a mainstay in the burgundy, silver and black ever since. (Forward John Grant, Jr. is now the most-tenured Mammoth player on the roster, having spent the last five seasons in Colorado.)
“I’ll never forget when we signed John (Gallant),” remembered Mammoth president & general manager Steve Govett. “We sat together in a rental van in Iroquois Park in Whitby, Ontario, and John’s been with the organization ever since. I think the world of him. He’s a great educator and coach, and was an outstanding lacrosse player for this franchise for a very long time.”
A kindergarten teacher, Gallant endeared himself to fans by making literally hundreds of appearances at schools and community functions in his early days with the organization. That also led to Gallant meeting his wife.
“The opportunity to work within the Denver community and help grow the game of lacrosse has been very important to me,” said Gallant. “I love this game very much and it has given a lot to me. To have an opportunity to give back and meet all the wonderful players, coaches, teachers, and community members along the way has been very special. I am proud that I am still able to be involved in youth lacrosse in Denver and I am excited to follow athletes I coached play at the highest level.”
The left-hander is credited with teaching many youngsters the game of lacrosse. As a Jr. Mammoth instructor, Gallant was one of the first to ever coach current Mammoth forward Eric Law.