Photo by Rena Laverty
His birth certificate may read Skellefteå, Sweden, but the development of Cutter Gauthier’s hockey career hails from the great state of Michigan.
Gauthier grew up skating for the esteemed Compuware youth hockey program at USA Hockey Arena, the same rink he now plays in for the National Team Development Program. Being able to watch players like Adam Fox, J.D. Greenway, and Matt Hellickson sparked a desire to one day be a part of the program as well.
“I watched a handful of NTDP games growing up, but if I had to say one player it’d definitely be Clayton Keller,” said Gauthier. “He’s a left winger as well as a lefty so he’s someone I tried to model my game after and watching him go through the NTDP was pretty cool.”
Looking up to some of the future NHL greats as a kid, it is no wonder that Gauthier wanted to follow in their footsteps. With dreams of his own to one day make it to the "national", giving his all every day became second nature.
“It is pretty cool because it’s all the best players in the country. Being able to play against some of the best competition really motivates me to be the best and that’s what I strive to do every day at the program.’
During the 2020-21 season, Gauthier split playing time between the U17 and the U18 teams. Being given the opportunity to learn aside the older group and play against tougher competition made a significant impact in his development.
“It was good getting to play with the older guys and learn from their game. They have a lot of experience playing in the USHL for two years,” stated Gauthier. “They helped me a lot with their knowledge of the game playing at a higher level.”
Along the way in his career, Gauthier was given some very sage advice that he still uses to motivate himself to this day. That advice was ‘do what you do best’ and was given to him by his father, Sean Gauthier.
“It was my dad from growing up in Arizona, he always said that. There’s not much hockey out there so it’s really about competing against yourself, do what you do best. It’s something he shared with me and something I live by.”
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Gauthier not only uses his father’s motto when he is out there on the ice, but in everything he does from the hard work in the classroom to the way he treats those around him.
Aside from the motivation it provides him, following this mantra is also a way that keeps his father close to him always, giving it so much more meaning.
‘I definitely use it every day because it helps me find my motivation. Whenever I think of that quote it makes me work harder. It’s just really special to me.”
After all the years of looking up to the many players who have come through the NTDP program, Gauthier himself is excited to enter his final season with the program.
Before parting from USA Hockey Arena, Gauthier offers up advice of his own to the future generation of NTDP skaters.
“One thing I’d say is work hard because if you don’t work hard, things aren’t going to fall in your favor. Work hard and again like my dad told me, just do you because everyone’s different,” said Gauthier.
“I feel like if you go out and do your thing, some people might like it and some people might not, but that’s a benefit to the game. It shows you new opportunities every day.”
Photo by Rena Laverty