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There are no Newfoundlanders on the Toledo Walleye, the Newfoundland Growlers in the ECHL Kelly Cup final beginning this weekend at Mile One Centre in St. John’s. However, Toledo rookie forward Zach Gallant, who is from Oakville, Ont., is the son of Corner Brook native Jamie Gallant and still has relatives in the west coast city.
Gallant, a 2017 third-round draft of Detroit, was captain of the Ontario Hockey League’s Peterborough Petes this season and joined Toledo after the Petes’ first-round playoff exit. He has five goals and 11 points in 18 post-season games with the Walleye.
The Kelly Cup championship series gets underway 7 p.m. Saturday night and follows up with a Mile One rematch Sunday night. Because of the distance between Ohio and Newfoundland, the Kelly Cup final series has a 2-3-2 schedule, with Games 3, 4 and 5 (the latter if necessary) set for Toledo on May 29 (Wednesday), May 31 (Friday) and June 1 (Saturday). Should things be extended beyond that, Game 6 and 7 are set for Mile One on June 4 and 5 (Tuesday and Wednesday).
These will be the first-ever meetings between the Growlers and the Walleye, who are the ECHL affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings. Except for three games against the Fort Wayne Komets, Newfoundland’s inaugural regular-season schedule was almost exclusively against Eastern Conference teams.
This is also a first trip to the Kelly Cup final for the Walleye, although the Toledo Storm won ECHL championships in 1993 and 1994.