Virtually every file bearing the name of Don Gallinger is headlined in the same manner. It relates to the fact that the NHL expelled him for life for gambling on games in which in own team participated. In March of 1948 he was suspended from play while the case against him was fully investigated. The once-flashy Boston Bruin's winger never denied his costly errors, but he dramatically regretted them.
Gallinger's introduction to the big time came during the war years, when virtually every NHL team was desperate to fill the gaps left by regulars who had enlisted in the service.
He was only 17 tears of age when called up to Boston. He was paired with "Bep" Guidolin, another fuzzy-faced 17- year-old, and Bill Shill, who was just 19. Because of their tender years they were tagged the "Sprout Line." Amazingly, the native of Port Colborne, Ontario was playing Midget hockey just two years previously and had jumped from the St. Catharines Junior B's to Beantown. He finished third in the voting for league rookie-of-the-year. After two seasons skating for the Bruins, while still a teen-ager, he changed uniforms, donning the colours of the RCAF and graduating at the top of his gunnery class. When he was discharged, he returned to the ice wars even better than when he left. In 1945-46, he lead his team in scoring with 17 goals and 23 assists..
He became known as Boston's "lamplighter" because of he was one of the mainstays on a team on its way up the ladder in the standings. Over the course of his early years in hockey, he had been offered contracts by baseball's Philadelphia Phillies and later the Boston Red Sox. Both times he turned down the offers because they were too small. With two sports from which to choose, if necessary, he was riding high in the sports world. But suddenly the bubble burst. At the same time as Billy "The Kid" Taylor was barred from professional hockey, Gallinger was handed an indefinite suspension stemming from his association with Detroit bookmaker and racketeer, James Tamer.
The seven-month investigation that followed revealed that the popular youngster had bet from $250 to $1000 on games involving the Bruins, and had given out information on the state of his teammates' injuries. Strangely enough, that latter amount was a wager on the February 18 game between his team and the Blackhawks. Don scored the tying goal and Boston won--but he lost the bet. In October 1948, President Clarence Campbell handed down his lifetime suspension. When first accosted, he denied the charges against him. 19 months later he admitted his guilt. At 22 his hockey career was over.
He made several attempts to have the suspension lifted, but all failed. The black cloud that hung over his head not only banned him from playing, but every door connected with hockey, including coaching, was slammed in his face. Ironically, it was while he was in America that the sentence was finally lifted in 1970.