Fife Flyers have added Dannick Gauthier, a six-two, 210-lb left-winger to the roster for the 2017-18 season.
It’s his first time outwith North America after playing between the AHL and ECHL in a six-year pro career.
Gauthier, aged 25, was part of the Tampa Bay Lightning organisation after signing as a free agent with the NHL team in 2012, and skating with their affiliate teams in the minor leagues.
He ended last season kitting up with Manitoba Moose for two games where Mark Morrison, Flyers’ former head coach, was behind the bench.
Mo’s knowledge of the player, and his abilities, were a point of reference as the club checked him out.
Todd Dutiaume had several conversations with his old boss, and he was also able to meet with Gauthier before announcing his signing – the third new import to be unveiled to date.
Dutiaume hopes the player, whose hockey report cards focus on his size and offensive skills among his assets, will add to the team’s firepower in the coming season.
He said: ‘‘I had a number of talks with Mark. I told him the type of player we were looking for. Danick topped that list for him.
“I had the opportunity to meet up with him, and I was impressed not only by his character, but commitment to contributing in any way required to help us towards a successful season.
“He’ll bring size and grit into our forward line up, and he also has the capability of increasing our offensive production.’’
Gauthier, from Waterloo, Quebec, started his career at junior level with Saint John Sea Dogs in the QMJHL where he was noted as a solid two-way hockey player.
In 2011-12 he went to rookie camp with NHL outfit, Phoenix Coyotes, before returning to the Sea Dogs who went on to be the league’s dominant team, winning the title and the play-off championships.
He turned pro after joining the Tampa Bay organisation on a three year deal, and has since been pushing for a starting slot in their AHL outfit, Syracuse Crunch, at a time when there were a number of leading forwards on the same trajectory.
Seasons 21012-13 and 2013-14 saw Gauthier assigned to Tampa’s ECHL team, Florida Everblades. In 2014-15, and again in 2015-16, he had a spell in that league with Wichita Thunder, also icing with Rapid City Rush and Norfolk Admirals.
In total he iced in 62 AHL games, scoring nine goals and nine assists, and over 230 ECHL matches with stats of 62+87.
His career now switches to the UK for the first time, but he’ll find himself reunited with one former team mate in the shape of recent Flyers’ signing, Evan Bloodoff – the duo were part of Florida Everblades’ 2013-14 roster.
Gauthier’s other former roster mates with EHL connections include Geoff Walker, of Sheffield Steelers, and Eric Neilson of Manchester Storm, both at Syracuse in 2013-14.
The winger is looking forward to skating on this side of the pond after catching up on life, and hockey, in Fife, albeit on video.
Hr said “This will be my first European experience. I’m excited but also curious about how my hockey style will fit in the European game.
‘‘I know I will have to adjust, but I‘m also confident I can use my skills to help the team.
“I’ve watched a few videos about Fife and the team – I really didn’t know what to expect until I watched them.’’