Cutter Gauthier no longer needs to be introduced — his play speaks for itself as he’s established himself as one of the most exciting players to watch on the Heights this year — and he’s just a freshman.
Drafted fifth overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2022, Gauthier entered his freshman year at Boston College this fall as not only one of the highest drafted players in recent BC hockey history, but also as one of the most highly touted players in college hockey this season.
He has certainly lived up to the expectations placed upon him: Gauthier is currently leading the Eagles in scoring with 34 points in 30 games. While he has a propensity for scoring goals with a lethal shot, he’s also developed into a playmaker for his teammates, wrapping up the regular season with 16 goals and 18 assists.
We sat down with Cutter before the Hockey East tournament gets underway tonight to discuss his journey to Boston College, adjusting to university life, what the team’s mindset is heading into playoffs, and more!
First things first, something that I ask everyone — why did you choose Boston College?
I chose BC because it was one of the highest [ranked] schools at the time when I was coming here. And you know, the culture behind the program - the winningest college hockey coach, Jerry York, was going to be the coach … but I’m happy with Greg Brown and how well he’s done with the school. I would say the biggest thing has been the culture behind BC Hockey - it’s a winning culture, and it’s such a beautiful city out here. There have been no complaints, it’s unreal.
You committed to BC in August 2020 — was that more difficult due to the pandemic, or were you able to get most of that process done before things got really bad?
It was definitely difficult for sure. But I feel like at that time when, you know, no one had anything to do, so many coaches were reaching out to me. And you know, I was building that relationship with so many teams and different coaches, it was hard to make a decision for sure.
And I actually felt like it was honestly the easiest time too, because I had so much time to kind of talk to the coaches and get a better understanding of where they’re coming from and do research on the schools that I was super interested in. And I thought it was a benefit for sure, but Boston College was the one for me after all those conversations and you know, it worked out well.
Did you have any chances at all to do any on-campus visits or no?
No, I didn’t have the opportunity to do any on campus visits. I visited BC once by myself - it was my mom and I, and I had a tournament out here. I walked around the campus and checked it out and saw for myself, but there weren’t too many in person invites or visits or anything like that.
In your own words, can you talk about your journey from Scottsdale to BC?
I grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona for most of my life, until the age of 10. And then I moved out to Michigan to pursue my dreams, and that was a hard decision for a 10 year old kid to move across the country to play hockey. It was kind of crazy to think that my parents had that much belief, and you know that much sacrifice at such a young age to pursue my dream, but it worked out super well and I was super fortunate for that. But then yeah, when I was in Michigan at the age of 10 [I was at] the Honeybaked program, up until the age of 15 and we had a really good group there. We made a couple of state championships … won a few of those. It was a fun time. Great place to be for youth hockey, just growing up in a nice hockey city was definitely something I wasn’t used to living in Arizona.
And then my last youth hockey year, I made the switch over to U16 Compuware because that was in the same building as the US National Program and I felt like it was best for me if I could, you know, get more eyes on me, show the team that I was good enough to make it. And then a year later it all worked out, and I was fortunate enough to make the National Program and play there for two years and have a great two years, and now we’re here at Boston College.
Can you talk about what it was like getting drafted to an organization that there are a couple of BC alums playing in? Cam Atkinson and Kevin Hayes are such big BC names, guys that love BC — did any of them reach out to you when that happened?
Yeah, pretty much the whole team gave me a text after the draft and just said “congratulations, super excited to have you.” Just, you know, all the great people that are out there reached out and it was super cool to see those big names in the National Hockey League pop up on your phone. It was such a surreal moment, such a surreal time in my development, it was just crazy.
I mean, 18 years of working as hard as you can to get drafted and see where your future is going to lead to, just happened within a few hours. And it went by just like that, and now I’m almost at the end of my freshman year of college so it’s pretty crazy thinking about how time is flying.
But yeah, at the beginning of the year this year, Kevin Hayes reached out to me and we actually met up and went golfing — he took me out golfing — such a great guy. He’s definitely a role model of mine, someone to look up to moving forward, but he’s been awesome since day one, always reaching out, giving me calls and checking up. He’s been a really great spirit, I’m super fortunate to have him in my contacts and [he’s] just somebody I can call whenever.
What was adjusting to college — not even hockey — like in general at the beginning of the year?
Yeah, it was tough for sure. My junior and senior year at the program were both online, and I didn’t have in-person school at all for two years. And then jumping right into college with you know, obviously a big campus, such a beautiful campus. And you’ve got a roommate now, you’re sharing the same bathroom and you’ve got the dorms and all that stuff. It was definitely a bit of an adjustment at first, but it worked out well.
It’s a nice campus too, not too big, not too small, so it’s pretty nice to get around but definitely an adjustment where I used to have my car driving to the rink and then driving back home — you don’t get that here. You’re more with the guys and you’re hanging out with them a lot more, and you got your roommate and you’re always with him. But I’ve enjoyed it so far.
What was your biggest adjustment?
I would say moving away from family because that was the first time I ever moved away from them. My mom and dad and two younger sisters moved out to Michigan with me from Arizona, so I’ve always had them with me. I lived with them as well at the program, where most guys usually have a billet family or host family, so I was super fortunate to have them there. But yeah, I would say moving away from family and not seeing them every single day, going back home and even home cooked meals. You know, mom’s dinner or whatever it may be. It was definitely a struggle at first, a lot of FaceTime calls and all that stuff, but it’s gotten much better now.
This year’s team has a pretty big senior class & grad transfer class; are there particular upperclassmen that you’ve learned a lot from or helped you with your transition to college/college hockey?
I wouldn’t say anyone in particular, I would just say the whole group of guys — they were all great guys since day one. Just all high class acts, they were all super humble and super welcoming to me. Obviously, it’s a new environment, I wasn’t used to this whole college thing yet in the college hockey atmosphere, but they welcomed me with open arms and they were super, super nice since day one. The one thing they really taught me is “stick to it.” It’s a fun time … and they’ve loved all four years or five years that they had in college. So they said enjoy the time, enjoy the moment — it’s been good to learn from those guys.
What has it been like playing for Coach Brown this year?
It’s been great. I’m super fortunate to have him as a coach this year, [and] my dad and him played hockey together over in Sweden and they kind of had that previous relationship. So it was definitely nice to come in with some familiar faces my first year. And it’s been great.
Coach Brown has been one of the best coaches I’ve had, he’s been very understanding and very easy to work with [about] any questions that I have. He’s super open minded about any conversation or whatever it may be. And he’s always there willing to help so he’s been a great influence and coach to look up to over the course of the season so far.
And what about the rest of the coaching staff?
Yeah, they’ve been great. We’ve got a new addition, Paul Carey, and he’s been awesome. He’s part of the boys. He just retired from playing hockey and it’s pretty cool to hear some of his stories and how well he’s done at all levels, and he’s been awesome since day one.
And Coach Buckley and Coach Ayers have been nothing but high class, those are the two who recruited me mostly to come out to BC and it’s been great. They’ve been super nice and super understanding and they want what’s best for me and my teammates, and they’ve been great since day one.
Over the course of the season, what’s a part of your game that you think has really improved?
Over the course of the season…I would say my faceoffs for sure. Last year, I was a left winger for the most part, and I wasn’t really taking faceoffs. It’s just repetitions, and you get used to it and get back into the swing of things after a whole summer of not taking faceoffs. Kind of just getting back in the dot and owning the puck and winning those faceoffs has been something I’ve been working on and it’s definitely something that’s been getting much better throughout the season.
Can you talk about what it’s been like transitioning to playing at center after playing at wing for the NTDP?
It’s been pretty easy. Honestly I would say I’m a super versatile player where I can play left, right, or center, whatever it may be. So I would say I just needed a game here and there to get back into the swing of things. But it’s been great. I’ve always said that I felt most dominant in the middle of the ice as a centerman and I still believe that and it’s been a great season so far. And I’ve enjoyed the position.
You’ve had some different linemates throughout the course of the year — has that changed your game at all as the season has gone on?
I wouldn’t say it’s changed too much. I go out there and try to do the best I can and when I’m playing my game and doing my thing, I’m hopefully helping the teammates and my linemates next to me increase their game to give them some kind of juice to keep going every single shift — they’re going to bring their A game as well, and you know it’s going to be a fun game to play.
My linemates now are Nikita Nesterenko and Andre Gasseau, we have a pretty good understanding of how each other play and how we kind of work off each other to find lanes or create space and time. It’s been going great so far, so we’re going to keep this going into playoffs here on Wednesday.
Pivoting a little bit, what was it like playing at World Juniors this year?
It was the best time of my life, it was awesome. Something that I dreamed of as a kid. Any time you get the opportunity to wear your country’s colors on your chest it’s a huge honor. And it went by so fast, it was a month long and it felt long while you were in it but now it’s already been two months since [the tournament].
But I had such a great time, lots of my best friends were on that team that I built relationships over the past two years at the NTDP with. Reuniting with them and getting to see them again, following up on their college careers and all the fun stories that they’ve had at their respective colleges was so fun. We had a great time.
It was lots of different hotels and kind of just doing nothing over the course of that period, but that’s when you get closer with your close friends. So it was a great time. Obviously not the result we wanted coming home with the bronze medal, but we were happy enough to get some hardware back to the United States.
So you get back from World Juniors, play at Fenway your first game back, and immediately score a goal. What was it like playing outdoors and getting the W?
That was crazy, you know coming from World Juniors right to the Fenway Park game. It was awesome, a peak of the year for sure — hopefully we have another [peak] coming up here — but it was awesome.
You know, Fenway Park, you don’t get that opportunity too often to play on a baseball field, especially outside on such a historical one. It was super surreal, and I had a great time coming back with the guys, reuniting with them and telling them my experiences and getting back to work.
Getting a W on the outdoor rink was pretty fun and a great experience, and something I’ll cherish for a while.
Your baseball celly — was that spur of the moment or was that something you had been planning after knowing that you were going to play at Fenway?
It was actually funny, right before the game we were in the locker room and I told my linemates — I was like, when I score tonight I’m going to do the baseball swing celly. And fortunately enough that happened pretty quick into the game so I got that out of the way and it was pretty cool that it happened so fast and was so fresh in my mind.
This half of the season has been a little up and down, but the team has been able to respond well to down moments over the past few games. Is there anything that you maybe attribute that to?
I would just say consistency, like our highs are really really high, and our lows have been pretty low. I feel like we need to have more of an even keel and you know, keep building on game-by-game and learning from our mistakes from previous games and building on top of that. So you can’t dwell on a loss or can’t be too happy on a win. You just gotta look forward to the next game and work on what you can improve and keep doing the good things right.
So [we do] more of that and we’re going to have a pretty good run.
Can you talk about what it was like to get that win on senior night this year and what that meant to the team?
That was huge. For all our seniors and grads who have worked their butts off all year long, and their previous years, they’ve been here for 4-5 years. It was pretty special to get that one for the guys. Everything they’ve done for the program, the community around Boston College, for Boston College itself. It was super fun, and I was so happy and excited for those guys to be able to come away with a win and see those smiles on their faces after the game as well.
So there’s always chatter about your future in a lot of different circles, especially at this time of year — how do you focus on staying in the moment at BC?
Yeah, I’ve been asked that question a few times recently. And my honest answer to that is that I haven’t really thought about that too much. I haven’t really thought about what the future is going to look like. I’m just focused on Wednesday and what I can do to … get myself ready to help the team win. That’s my biggest focus. It’s crazy that the season could be over on Wednesday, but I’m not gonna let that happen. I’m not gonna let the team down and I’m gonna bring my A game on Wednesday so that we keep playing for a while longer here.
What’s the mindset of the team entering playoffs?
Pretty good! Obviously a tough game last weekend against UConn — that last one there. But we’ve learned a lot. We did a lot of video today and saw our mistakes and what we can work on. We had a good skate today and we’re gonna have another one tomorrow. Just taking that confidence into the playoffs. The nice thing about it is that it doesn’t matter what you did before the season or all season long. Everyone’s 0-0, and there’s 60 minutes to prove how good you are. So that’s kind of our mindset. It’s do or die, and that’s how we’re gonna play on Wednesday night.
Alright, onto the fun questions:
So far what has your favorite non-Fenway goal celly been?
Um, I would probably say the first one at Northeastern, my first collegiate goal. I went down on one knee and did like the boom and then a fist bump. It’s always nice to get your first goal off your chest, especially in your first game so it’s super fortunate that it all worked out so that one was pretty nice.
Are there any cellies that your teammates have done that you really like?
There’s the classic Eagle celly, like the one where you flap your wings. But other than that, I don’t know — a lot of the guys are pretty basic, whether it’s rubbing the ice or going down on one knee. I like to switch it up depending on the game or the mood, have a good time with it.
What is something that BC fans might be surprised to know about you — other than anything to do with golf?
Ah, you saw that one [coming] didn’t you? (Author’s note: I did. I’ve been doing this long enough to call it out before it even happens!)
A fun thing about me, other than golf… I love to fish. This past summer I went down to one of my buddy’s — Seamus Casey’s — house and he’s got a nice setup down on the Florida Keys and we went tarpon fishing and shark fishing and it was a super fun experience to catch some of those giants. I had a great time with it and always remembered when I was a kid going out to the pond with my dad or the lake or whatever it may be early in the morning or late at night catching fish. It was always a great time.
What has your favorite class at BC been so far?
Favorite class… I would have to say Public Speaking with Kalemba Kizito. I really liked the professor, he was a really great guy. He’s super understanding. He came to a few of the hockey games. It was super fun class.
Do you have a go-to pregame song, and if so what is it?
Yeah, I listen to the same four songs in a row before a game. I start off with trademark usa by Baby Keem, and then I roll it over to Human by Rag’n’Bone. And then I do I’m a Boss by Rick Ross, and then I cap it off with Love Sosa by Chief Keef. Those four in that order is kind of what gets me going and it’s worked so far, so I’m gonna keep it going.
Do you have a favorite off campus restaurant yet?
Yep, that one’s gonna be Davio’s. Right there with SuperLux, I think there’s a Lululemon over there too and it’s next to Legal Seafoods. Davio’s, yeah. That’s a solid spot, those steaks are legit. Those are pretty good.
I don’t know if you’ve had enough time to form an opinion on this since you’re a freshman — but what is your favorite dining hall meal at BC?
That’s tough, the food has been kind of tough this year — this is gonna take me a while.
Oh yeah, I do remember this one. It was steak tips. But usually when they do steak tips they’re super plain and taste like rubber. But this one night they had barbecue sauce on it and it was actually cooked medium rare, and they were just super good. But it was only one night though. Like I got them again after they weren’t as good, but it was just that one night that the steak tips were super good. So I have to say that one.
Was that at Mac or at Lower?
Yeah, that was Mac, any time they have sushi I’ll pick up sushi too, that one’s a classic.
I’m jealous that they even have sushi now, they did not have that when I was in school.
Yeah, it doesn’t happen a lot, like there might be one time that it’s on your meal card, so it happens once in a blue moon. But whenever they pop up, you definitely load up on those and bring them back to the room.
I feel like normally players will say food from Lower as their favorite meal.
Yeah, Lower definitely has better food for sure. The best play at Lower is to get two chicken breasts with mushrooms. And then you can’t get the rice that comes with that, you have to go get the sticky rice in the big bowl, and then throw your sauces on top. That’s the best, consistent play at Lower for sure.
The food can be so hit or miss, I’m sad to hear it’s still tough.
Yeah, the Doordash account on my phone has been getting pretty good usage recently.
Okay, last question then. What are you Doordash-ing?
Chipotle. If not Chipotle, then Eagle’s Deli. That’s a big one. But yeah, usually that or Eagle’s. I’ll sneak in a Playa Bowl if I don’t feel like walking there. Those three are solid.
A huge thank you to Cutter for taking the time to sit down with us before the Hockey East tournament! Boston College men’s hockey will be taking on UMass in the first round of Hockey East playoffs on Wednesday at 7pm.