November 11, 2022

The Pipeline: Hockey’s a family affair for Ethan Gauthier

Hockey is a family affair when it comes to Ethan Gauthier.

Gauthier’s father, Denis Gauthier, played in the NHL for 11 seasons with the Calgary Flames, Arizona Coyotes, Philadelphia Flyers, and Los Angeles Kings. Ethan and brother Kaylen currently play on the same team in the QMJHL with the Sherbrooke Phoenix. His cousin Julien Gauthier plays with the New York Rangers, too.

So, the hockey bloodline definitely runs deep, but Ethan never felt pressured to pursue hockey while growing up so close to it.

“The thing is when people talk about my dad, you can assume he wanted me to play hockey, but it’s never been his goal,” he told Guy Flaming on The Pipeline Show. “My dad has been supporting us since we were really young and everything we’ve been doing. I never felt any pressure at all from him, he’s just been there to help me and support me.”

Instead, Gauthier finds that being the son of an ex-NHLer gives him an advantage.

“Obviously all the little details in the Q my dad could bring me as a hockey player is precious,” he said. “It’s a tool that I have close to me that not a lot of players have. He knows exactly what it takes to be a pro player.”

And playing with his brother for Sherbrooke has helped with his development.

“As soon as he came here, I played with more confidence,” he said. “My brother has been helping me with everything since we train together, we work together, we spend time together back home. We do most everything together. Just having him here on the same team is pretty special. It’s obviously special for us, but also special for our parents and our family.”

The projected first rounder is off to a great start, posting 22 points (nine goals, 13 assists) in 18 games.

And he is among the CHL leaders in points-per-game for draft eligible players at 1.22, too.

Gauthier is slotted No. 25 on FCHockey’s Preliminary ranking for the 2023 NHL Draft, and has an ‘A’ rating on NHL Central Scouting ‘Players to Watch’ list, which indicates a first-round candidate.

Gauthier attributes his great start to the season to his success at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup performance in the summer.

“I knew before going to that tournament that it was a huge opportunity for me to show everyone who I was as a player,” he admitted. “My dad taught me a lot about playing with my identity and going there was my first goal was to just make sure I showed to everyone what I could do on the ice as a hockey player. I think that’s exactly what I did.”

And he delivered.

Gauthier registered seven points in five games for team Canada, and his team-leading six goals was also the best in the entire tournament.

“At the Hlinka Gretzky Cup I think it’s kind of a big confidence booster,” he said. “Coming back to Sherbrooke, I wasn’t expecting what’s going on right now. I’ve had a pretty good start and I’m pretty happy with how it’s going so far.”

But Gauthier doesn’t consider himself a purely offensive forward.

He has some grit to his game, too — something he says he got from his father.

“I would say the biggest similarity is my physical game,” Gauthier said. “It’s probably the biggest aspect of my game since I’ve been playing with contact. My dad was that kind of defenseman who likes to hit.”

He also doesn’t let the possibility of being selected in the first round of the upcoming NHL Draft get him stressed out.

It’s something he says may be due to the fact that he was selected first overall by Sherbrooke at the QMJHL Entry Draft in 2021.

“When I got drafted here first overall, it was the first time I felt pressure,” he said. “I’ve been dealing with pressure since I was really young. Coming into Sherbrooke as a 16-year-old, I got a bit surprised. I didn’t play midget AAA due to COVID. It’s kinda a big step and I got surprised at how fast it was. You’re playing against 18, 19, 20 year old guys, who are more mature.”

Gauthier has delivered and the only thing left to focus on is the NHL draft, and the stress of that hasn’t affected him.

“We’re playing hockey for moments like playing in the NHL. It’s a childhood dream,” he said. “I was there when my cousin got drafted a couple of years ago for the Carolina Hurricanes. It’s a childhood dream to maybe play in the NHL one day. I don’t want it to get on my mind too much this year.”

If he keeps up this pace for the rest of the season, he won’t have to stress about being drafted come June in Nashville, just when.

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