ICE HOCKEY – Hugo Gallet: “It’s not a hashtag that will change my career”

From the young Amiens who interferes in the locker room of the Gothics to the appreciated defender who sees his name at the top of the poster of the world championships, Hugo Gallet takes stock of his young career for Gazette Sports.

First of all, how did you discover hockey in Amiens?

My dad loved hockey and wanted to do it when he was young. He went to see the matches then he settled in a company which became a partner of the club. He had a box at the Coliseum and he was present at every game, so I followed him. I started with roller hockey and then ice hockey. I finally decided to head for the ice cream. It’s a bit like the classic scheme of the father who puts us in it and it worked.

While attending Gothic matches as a youngster, did you have any idols?

Yes, Kevin Hecquefeuille when he returned to Amiens. I saw him play for a year or two. Very very young, I had the Rozenthal brothers as idols, especially François. I had the chance to rub shoulders with them because my uncle made a film on the 1999 title, I had the right to see them, to go to the locker room, they came to my house for my birthday. A child’s dream!

Kevin Hecquefeuille and Hugo Gallet in the jersey of the French team, at the Coliseum.

Was it a choice to be a defender?

Yes, I think it was a choice. I had qualities for that, I have always been a passer more than a scorer. I like to make the right pass and I also have a good vision of the game, it allows me to raise well. It happened quite young and after that it stayed. I played a year in attack because we lacked players in front, in U15.

When you look at your minor hockey stats, you were accumulating the points while you were a defenseman and younger than most…

Yes, but it’s also because we had a generation of sufferers and we won everything! Out of 20 players of this generation, maybe 10 have turned pro. I remember the front row in U15, when we won at Viry, it was Metais, Bouvet, Kazarine, Leclerc and me. There are three who made world championships and everyone is playing pro now. That’s also why the stats were good. If we look at that year, if I have 20 points, Guillaume (Leclerc) in a 60.
It was a crazy generation, we won everything! Just yesterday I was with Maurin Bouvet and Fabien Kazarine, we are still talking about it.

Does playing in a team like that explain your current level?

There are lots of things, it’s already been 8 years since I left Amiens. But evaluated with them who were older when I was two years younger than them, it pulled me up. At the Pôle Espoirs, the level was quite intense compared to the level at that time. Even in the France team, we were 7 or 8 from Amiens. Going to school together, training together, it was great.

I love this city, I can clearly see myself coming back to Amiens.

Today we meet in Amiens, is it your attachment to the city that makes you come back?

I love this city, I can clearly see myself coming back to Amiens. It is sure that I come back a lot for my family, I can find my brother whom I do not have the opportunity to see often, to train with him. My girlfriend is based in Amiens too, it’s really back to basics every time. Normally I could stay in Finland in the summer, but it’s something I negotiated, I can’t not come back. I am able to train here, with the ice of the Gothics. I need this back to basics. It’s a city that I love, I’ve traveled a lot, so I have some comparison perspectives and it really is a great city!

Do you still have an eye on the results of the Magnus League and even of Amiens in particular?

Yes, I’m watching all Magnus summaries, I have time in Finland. Obviously, I will follow my friends and my little brother more. But of course I follow the results of Amiens and Bordeaux because I played there. These are also the only two teams that I follow on Instagram, for example. Every time I come back in the summer, I come to play with them, Tomas Simonsen, whom I’ve never met, I see him every summer, I was rollerblading with him this week. There will always be this link.

I was beginning to understand that I could do something in hockey.

After your minor hockey, you left for the United States…

What motivated me was that I was beginning to understand that I could do something in hockey. Guillaume Leclerc had left the previous year and told me good things about it. I had this opportunity, to learn English, to change culture. I didn’t have the success that Guillaume had there, it was perhaps the toughest years in hockey that I have encountered. It is perhaps thanks to that that I am successful today, that things are going well in my club in Finland and that I am starting to take up space in the France team. I don’t regret what I did.

Then the departure for Finland, in a country where everything seems unknown…

I never really thought like that, I always looked for the sportsman. It played tricks on me because in the same way that I left for the United States thinking that I was going to play hockey without thinking about the culture shock, I experienced the same thing in Finland. I left because Jules (note: his little brother) was there and I didn’t have a lot of opportunities. I did not see myself returning to Amiens right away, I tried and it made my head (sic) to find solutions on my own.

It allowed you to discover two very different styles of hockey…

Of course, I know how to play on a small ice rink as on a big one, I know how to play a little more conservative style and I know how to try things. This proves that there have always been positives in my experiences, I may have been a more complete player since then.

In 2018, you find France by signing in Bordeaux, why?

I did a World Cup with France in Copenhagen in 2018, it allowed me to have an offer in the Czech Republic. I took a six week trial and on the last day I learned that I was not preserved. The same afternoon, I left. Gap and Bordeaux contacted me directly after that and I needed to find a place where they really wanted me. I knew that Philippe Bozon liked me. It did me good to play with friends, in France, the atmosphere is so different! VSit boosted my career, it challenged me to take pleasure in playing.

Then back to Finland, a country you haven’t left since…

I went back to Mestis (the 2nd level) in a place that I did not know at all, I trusted myself. I had leaders on the phone who convinced me and I fell into an incredible place. The town is small, there are two restaurants and it’s surrounded by lakes. The setting is nice but I had nothing to do (sic). This same year, I left a little in Liiga (the finnish elite), which I would never have imagined before. I thought I was going to fight all year to be in the lineup every game, in the end I realized that I was among the two best defenders in the team. I knew I was close to signing for Kalpa so I decided to stay.

Kalpa has decided to trust you for the next two seasons: what are your goals?

I’m really happy to be in a project like this! The same way I changed my mentality, I just wanna take it week by week and enjoy the people there. There are goals that you can’t really quantify, just play well and improve certain aspects of the game. I don’t have a board in my room where I write “I want 10 goals and 10 assists” to motivate me!

You just came back from a world championship with the Blues, what do you think of this tournament, looking back?

I think it’s successful, we would have liked to take one more game or two against the teams that we stuck to, but I think that in our case we have to be realistic. We did what we had to do, we are where we should be. In the group, there were few who had already been at this level and precisely the experience we gained on these teams (Denmark, Germany and Slovakia), I think that it will allow us next year or the following year to win those important matches. There’s really nothing negative about losing those matches, everyone saw those little things that were needed to win. We had a little heat against the Italians and the Kazakhs, but that’s part of the sport and we were able to show our strength of character. The group lived really well, even with the generational change. We have lots of good memories to tell.

It’s flattering but I do not ignite!

In this adventure, there was also the #GalletEnNHL

It’s always a pleasure, after that I am someone who is quite realistic and quite humble. I know it’s not this hashtag that will change my life but I’m happy that my work is rewarded in the public eye. It’s flattering but I do not ignite! VSit was included in L’Equipe, we had a good laugh with it and it created a good atmosphere.

Do you imagine a return to Magnus later in your career?

It’s hard to say living season after season, I’m only 25, so hopefully it won’t be right away. Of course I would like to do another season in France, whether to share it with my family. and then also because a year in France is great. I don’t have a particular team, I think it would be Amiens. Or Bordeaux because I loved my year there. Of course it’s in the back of my mind.

Your almost namesake Hugo Allais, also from Amiens and defender, flew to the United States 8 years after you: did you know about it?

Yes, I know him well, he played with my little brother all his youth. He does a good little thing there so it’s good for Amiens hockey too. I am like a lot of players of my generation and that of Jules, I watch his results at the weekend. The world of hockey is a small world.

Hosted by Kevin Devigne
Photo credit: Kevin Devigne / Jérôme Fauquet –

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