After a few seasons in the NHL, Frédérik Gauthier will play in Switzerland this year

After a few seasons in the NHL, Fréd&érik Gauthier will evolve into Switzerland this year


Frédérik Gauthier has begun a new chapter in his career in recent weeks. The Quebec striker has accepted an offer from HC Ajoie, in the Swiss National League.  

“I've been thinking about playing in Europe for a few years now,” Frédérik Gauthier said in a telephone interview. This year I got an offer and decided to take it. 

“It’s a life experience too. It allows you to live in Europe and see how it goes. At the moment, I really like it and there are beautiful landscapes.

If he decided to go to Europe, it is also because the offers were not very attractive on the other side of the Atlantic. 

“In South America North, I spoke to a few teams, but there was nothing concrete on the table, ”says the former first-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2013. 

< strong>Ups and downs

Over the past seven seasons, Gauthier has played a total of 178 NHL games with the Maple Leafs, Arizona Coyotes and New Jersey Devils. 

A career that has never not always been obvious with several long stays in the American League. 

“I don't think I have to mourn the NHL, underlines Gauthier. It's a job and you try to do the best you can. Since I've been here, I haven't thought about the NHL or a return to North America. 

“One thing is certain, I have no regrets about what happened or what I did. I'm not bitter either.”

The 27-year-old is keeping the doors open for his future. He could stay in Europe for several seasons, but he does not rule out a return to North America. No matter the league or the place, he will be a happy hockey player. 

“I want to go one year at a time and at the end of each season, I will assess the continuation.”< /p>

Quick adaptation

Gauthier quickly adapted to European play on the ice. Moreover, he amassed five points, including three goals, in six preparatory games. 

He begins his regular season on Friday when HC Ajoie will cross swords with the formation of Lugano.

“Things are going well so far,” says Gauthier. With the big rinks, you have to use your hockey sense more. You don't have to always go around corners and hit everywhere. 

‘You always have to be in a good position. It allows you to skate a little better because you have more room on the ice. 

‘You also have more time to react. You have a second or two more (than in the NHL or the AHL) to make a decision with the puck.'

The 6-foot-5, 238-pound colossus hasn't been too much disoriented when he entered the locker room of Ajoie. He was able to count on the presence of several Quebecers to help him on and off the ice. A smooth adaptation.