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Merchants top scorer sets team scoring record

Hockey is a family affair for St. Albert's Nico Gallo

The St. Albert Merchants all-time leading goal scorer Nico Gallo was shocked to learn he had set a new team record.

"I didn't even know I was in the running for the record until one of my buddies texted me before the game saying there was an article about me breaking the record," Gallo said.

Gallo has been with the Capital Junior Hockey League's Junior B Merchants for three years and scored 96 goals over that time. This season, he has netted 35 goals, 12 more than anyone else on the team.

With 14 years on the ice and still counting, Gallo, 21, grew up playing hockey. He played with the St. Albert Raiders for five years, then went to the Merchants.

Gallo attributes his inspiration to his love for hockey and urges others who want to progress with it to "play for the love of the game."

He also said he enjoys the team environment, mainly because of the culture the Merchants have developed.  

"We have all been playing together for a while now, so the culture is great because we all built it," Gallo said. "We all get together and have fun."
"Playing for the Merchants is always an honour, and every game is always fun."

Gallo said he is determined to put some past disappointments behind him.

"I just want to win the championship this year, because I feel I underperformed in the playoffs last year."

Last year, St. Albert was eliminated from the CJHL playoffs by the Sherwood Park Knights. 

Gallo's father Dom said he and his wife love going to watch their son play, along with his brother Mateo and their cousin Brandon. All three Gallos play for the Merchants.

"It's a treat that he is on a team with his younger brother and our nephew. The whole family experience makes it more enjoyable."

This year, the Merchants go into the post-season with high expectations as regular-season champions, having posted a regular-season record of 32-5-1. They open their playoff run against the Stony Plain Flyers, with the first game this Friday at 8 p.m. at Jarome Iginla Arena in St. Albert.

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