It's been one week since the tragic passing of beloved Steelheads alum Lance "Rooster" Galbraith. In that time, the Steelheads and the hockey community have mourned one of the best to adorn a Steelheads uniform and a one-of-a-kind hockey personality.
Galbraith joined the Steelheads early in the 2003-04 season from the Dayton Bombers in his third professional season after a majority of time in the 2001-03 stretch with the ECHL's Augusta Lynx, and his impact both on and off the ice was felt as part of his campaign with the Steelheads. In his four seasons from 2003-04 through 2007-08, he posted 83 goals and 127 assists for 210 points with 1,071 penalty minutes in 229 games. His first season was part of the 2004 Kelly Cup Championship campaign, and he became one of just four players & hockey staff to earn multiple championships during the 2007 Kelly Cup Championship.
In the 2005-06 season, Galbraith made the jump to the UHL's Fort Wayne Komets for one season before returning back to the Treasure Valley for two more seasons. Following his time with the Steelheads, he would later join the Texas Brahmas and Wichita Thunder (CHL) as well as the rival Alaska Aces and Utah Grizzlies over his final three seasons in professional hockey. He also played a handful of games with the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Norfolk Admirals, Springfield Falcons and Syracuse Crunch following five seaons with the OHL's Ottawa 67's.
Lance was the heart and soul of our championship teams and a larger than life personality and character that touched so many lives within our Steelheads family. He was a fan favorite for many years, even after his playing time ended with the Steelheads.
On the ice, he was an impactful, heart-and-soul style of player that married both physicality and point production, an attribute not always seen in professional hockey regardless of the level. With the Steelheads, he finished his tenure as the franchise's leading penalty minute earner between both the WCHL and ECHL eras while also sitting fourth in points scored. In the ECHL era, he sits in the top-five in all three major scoring categories and is in the top-10 for games played in Idaho. His performance and impact was felt across all franchises he played with with similar stories and production.
Other teams across the hockey world weighed in on his impact:
When you think of the guys we have had here, Lance was right up there with the most popular Ottawa 67’s of all-time. It’s very sad and all of our thoughts are with his family, friends, and former teammates.
It wasn't just his production that left a lasting impression. Galbraith was an infectious, larger than life personality in the locker room. While not all stories do get brought into the public eye, the memories between Galbraith and members of the team have left lasting impressions on those that have gone to battle with him and even some of those that have opposed him.
Teammates and former co-workers throughout the years lended their thoughts to the Steelheads and also posted on their own social media channels their thoughts and memories of Lance.
I had the honor to lace them up and play on a line with Galby... The word "Warrior" describes him best. For the game of hockey, he knew how to win, but he was much more than that, he was a great man on and off the ice. He was the type of guy that ALWAYS showed up for his team or friends. RIP brother, gone but never forgotten 🙏
The funnest teammate I ever had. Awesome guy! Such tough news to hear! Rip Rooster! ❤️✌️
Lance was the ultimate teammate. He always had your back! There was no goalie that he couldn’t beat and no heavy weight that was too big. He was one of the main reason that we won the Kelly Cup! Rest In Peace Lance!
I had many battles against Lance ... no one played harder. Prayers to his family and teammates. Rip my friend.
Off the ice, that same personality shined and resonated among the communities in which he lived. Stories from dressing up as opponents prior to playoff weekends to trips and outings with fans came pouring through. Over the last week, the outpouring of support and love from members of the community have shined through, and while not all could be included, quite a few have been included to signify the impact that he had on hockey and beyond.
Rest in peace, Rooster. We will miss you.
"That is heartbreaking. I remember watching him in person so many times. One of the most dedicated men to come through idaho for the team and always ready to shake shit up. He is barely 10 years older than me. Wayyy to young to have to leave. You’re in our hearts Rooster!" - "Red Beard the Pirate" via Instagram
"By far my favorite Steelhead player …he was FIESTY and so fun to watch. Damn I hate this what a loss, so sorry for the family. He will have his fists up and ready for a brawl at the pearly gates." - Teresa Coiner
"Alaska is also morning the loss of Lance, he was a great player on the Alaska ACES. So sad to hear this. Thoughts and prayers to his family, friends and fans ❤️🙏🏼🏒" - Steena Oliver
"Broken hearted here. What a great kid!! Some players come in and have next to nothing to do with the fans. Some come in and are kind to everyone… but, don’t really become part of the community. And there is nothing wrong with that at all.. so please don’t take it the wrong way. But some people come in and completely embrace the community. That was Lance. He will always have a special place in the heart of the Boise fans. Rest In Peace my friend. God please give peace and comfort to his family and friends. 🙏🙏" - Bill Smith
"Lance was one of the most amazing men I have ever known. He was a great man and friend. My life as well as many was touched so deeply by him. I loved him as a brother and I have never been the same since he entered my family. Rest in piece Rooster." - Gary Ray Hope
"Such a sad loss. He was so much fun to watch. His passion and love for the game of hockey was evident every single night. A true champion. RIP Lance." - David Ward
"Lance was the reason I fell in love with hockey. Watching him play was so exciting, he was fearless! Thoughts and prayers go out to his family" - Alta Martin
"I’m honestly sad to hear this. As a Stockton Thunder fan, when the Steelheads came to town, I brought my twin sons down to the glass during warm up time before the actual game started. Not sure but after awhile I think he recognized us and he would wink at me or the kids and tossed a puck over the glass for them. He must have tossed about four or five over time. I appreciated his game as he was gritty and talented. Sad to see he passed so young. Thank you for the pucks, and memories Lance. ❤️❤️❤️🙏🙏." - Jim Anderson
"He was our favorite in Alaska too. Rip" - Aman Schwemley
"Lance was always our favorite player. He played with such passion! He was the type of guy you ALWAYS wanted on your team. He was great with the kids during hockey camps. Always made them laugh. RIP" - Susan Ebert
"Way too young. RIP Lance. Prayers for your family. My hockey stick is on the porch for you and Bossy two legends in one day. Idaho lost an icon." - Mike White
"I will never forget the way he played the game and the great times we shared with him. Rest In Peace 🐔" - Melanie Ball
"Omgoodness. He was mine and my daughter's favorite player on the Steelheads watched him so many times. Prayers for his family ❤️" - Ang Klippel
"Oh how terribly sad. We so enjoyed watching him play hockey. RIP!! Gone too soon!! Prayers to his family, the Steelheads and his friends." - Dee Oldham
"Hockey was huge for my family and I grew up watching him play ☹️ so sad" - Heather Kern
"Goodbye to a great hockey player and just a nice person." - Paul McLeod