February 26, 2024

Brighton Journal

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Cutter Gauthier received death threats for not wanting to play for Flyers, says he doesn't want to face his 'worst enemy'

Cutter Gauthier received death threats for not wanting to play for Flyers, says he doesn't want to face his 'worst enemy'

From the moment he was traded to the Anaheim Ducks on Monday, Cutter Gauthier has been ridiculed in some circles, with social media fueling attacks on his character after the Philadelphia Flyers effectively said good riddance to the former award prospect.

Gauthier answered questions Wednesday about the stunning deal, which saw the Flyers trade the 19-year-old Boston College and recent U.S. junior gold medalist to the Ducks for young defenseman Jimmy Drysdale and a 2025 second-round draft pick.

The reaction to reports of Gauthier's recent dealings with Philadelphia — or perhaps the lack thereof — has been so toxic that Gauthier said he has received death threats via social media. Most of the questions Gauthier faced revolved around one simple question: Why didn't he want to play for the Flyers?

“This is the question everyone is wondering, and the biggest thing I can say right now is that I have to keep it to myself, my family and my agent,” Gauthier said. “It's been a long process over the past few months to deal with this matter. I don't think this is the right time to discuss this matter. There may come a day when I talk about the details of what happened. For now, I want to keep it a private matter.”

During a 30-minute phone call with local reporters, Gauthier said his head was “kind of spinning” over the two days following the trade, and emphasized that he was excited to join Anaheim after his college season ended. He also referenced death threats in describing the visceral reactions he received.

“There's been a lot of good and bad,” he said. “A 19-year-old is getting a lot of death threats and a bunch of thousands and thousands of people reaching out and saying some pretty nasty things that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy, it's very hard to see, obviously. But it's work. With the rumors spreading that are not true It's hard to come out and say a word or anything to calm these people down.

“But, you know, people are going to have opinions. People are going to say things. I can't tell them to have an opinion or not. It's definitely been a bit of a stressful situation over the last 48 hours.”

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Expanding on the threats he received, Gauthier said: “(My direct messages) right now and Instagram are so crazy with what people are saying. There have been thousands and thousands of messages. I was still getting it about five or ten minutes ago. And what people are saying is kind of cruel.

“I didn't really mean to do anyone any harm. I was looking at a situation, like, say, a bird's-eye view of a dove. I thought it was best for me to make the decision I made. Obviously some people won't be happy about that. I'm not here to please everyone.” “I'm here to do what's best for me and my future. I felt like that's what I did. Obviously, people aren't going to be very happy about that. Yeah, there are some pretty harsh things people say.”

While he understood the amount of attention that would follow him in the wake of the trade, Gauthier admits it was difficult for him to step away from his cell phone or social media channels. But there was support amid the backlash.

“It's kind of hard when everything is so in your face out there,” he said. “You open Twitter and you see my name and every report on what's going on and everyone has their own opinions. It's kind of hard not to completely turn away from it.

“Like I said before, it's a business. People will say things, especially in the situation we're in now. It's hard to know the real reason and see people putting all these false statements out there. Not being able to really express what really happened until now. It's been Kind of difficult, but it was also good. I had a bunch of people reach out to me.

“You can definitely tell who your friend circle is in situations like this. It's definitely been good for the most part, and obviously there's been some bad stuff from Flyers fans.”

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In the period following the trade, Gauthier said he went back and forth on whether he should fully explain what happened behind the move from the Flyers that led to him being the No. 5 pick in the 2022 NHL Draft to request a trade from them last April after his freshman season ended with the Eagles. He has chosen the freedom to exercise his privacy.

“I've seen kind of all the rumors going around right now,” he said. “It's kind of funny what people are saying at this moment. I don't think I've ever seen a single thing said that has been pinpointed as to why all of this happened. People like to talk, they like to make things up, and people like to listen.”

Another aspect of the trade that Gauthier sought to dispel was the notion that he did not want to play under Flyers coach John Tortorella. He said that his interaction with him was positive.

“All those rumors saying I'm afraid of damage, that's not the case at all,” he said. “I've had a lot of (difficult) coaches throughout my life and I think any coach I play for would love to have me on their team. I want to do whatever it takes to win. If they're the tough, yelling and screaming type, I'll roll with the punches. I'll never take offense.” “To the coach or talk to him. I'm going to give it my all every shift. That was definitely not the reason I didn't want to play in Philadelphia.”

“I actually met Torts during development camp a couple of years ago. I was very excited and happy to meet him. Obviously being a big name in the hockey and coaching industry, I definitely wasn't against playing with him at all.”

While he steered clear of details regarding the Flyers and his dealings with them, Gauthier specifically took issue with describing St. Louis Blues forward Kevin Hayes as someone who influenced his desire to play elsewhere. Hayes, who played with the Flyers from 2020-23, is a former BC player who Gauthier knows well.

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“I kind of saw all the rumors going around that there were Kevin Hayes' fingerprints on this,” Gauthier said. “I want to make it clear that he has absolutely nothing to do with this. He has absolutely nothing (to do about it). Some of the people who are saying these things about his family and things like that, (he's) very brave. He has no fingerprints on this on Launch.

“I haven't talked to him in a long time. I just wanted to make that clear. It's not just his word against anyone else. I wanted to make sure it (is known) that he definitely wasn't involved in this at all. It's kind of disrespectful to him and his name to be brought into This matter.

The Ducks made the trade with strong belief and knowledge that Gauthier would sign with them after completing his second season with the Eagles, the top-ranked team in college hockey. Gauthier said that is his plan and that his NHL debut could still come if the Eagles play for the NCAA title with Anaheim playing its season finale five days after the championship game. He said he had been in contact with current Ducks forwards Troy Terry and Leo Karlsson.

But the possibility of him playing his first game in Philadelphia will have to wait as the Ducks have already made their only visit in October. When asked what his expectations were for what the first game at Wells Fargo Center would be like, Gauthier said, “Chaotic.”

He continued: “Chaos for sure.” “I've got that (future) date circled on my calendar big time. I can't wait to get out there and play my game in front of these fans and do what I want. I'm really looking forward to that game.”

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(Photo: Andy Lewis/Ikon Sportswire via Getty Images)