How Julien Gauthier went from workout warrior to ascendant New York Rangers winger

Even before Julien Gaultier joined the NHL, he was already fascinated by many NHL teams.

Every year, the scout factory releases players who care about everyone, an NHL team leader said. In 2016, one of those guys was definitely Julien Gaultier. He had a late birthday and already played for Canada in the World Junior Championship and three years in the QMJHL, so he is a man we have seen many times before. But what stands out is his unique background.

Father Gautier, Martin, is a bodybuilder, who was appointed Mr. Canada. Grandfather Gaultier, Denis, was a professional wrestler and in 1964, Mr. Canada, and a runner for Mr. Universe. Uncle Gautier, Denis Jr. played 554 games for the NHL defender. But the competition jury was also obsessed by the fact that Gaultier’s grandfather was married to Joanna Rougeau, a member of one of Canada’s most famous wrestling families, whose brothers formed the tag team of the World Wrestling Federation in the 1980s, the duo of the Fabulous Rougeau Brothers.

Gautier, who weighed 1.80 m and 224 pounds at the age of 18, started lifting weights at the age of 9 using a reliable homegym. According to Martin Gautier, by the end of his teenage years, his son was able to pocket 405 pounds. And not a quarter of the squats, Martin said. Really decent, full, squatted in good shape. With four plates on each side. He can do four or five rehearsals.

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When Julien Gaultier arrived at the Scout Combine, everyone wanted to talk to him.

Everybody knew training was my thing, he said. So that’s what they focused on. When he asked about his body, Gautier answered: I don’t lift weights to look good without a shirt on. I train to be strong and powerful in hockey.

In 2016, Hurricane Caroline Gautier was named 21. The solid forward scored 43 goals in his first two seasons with his AHL partner in Charlotte, but last season he didn’t get the NHL team out of training camp. According to some sources, the team wanted him to stop playing defense.

It was difficult because I was ready to form a team; I felt I was ready,” Gautier said. It was painful, but I had two choices: You complain or bend your head and dig deeper.

Gautier scored 26 goals in his first 44 games against the Ladies last season, allowing the Hurricanes to trade their rights.

In February, Gautier was sent to the New York Rangers in exchange for Joey Keene, one of the most important defenders of the Blueshire. For Gaultier, it was a lifeline, a chance to play in the NHL.

Rangers have been completely rebuilt and only one player remains, Chris Kreider, for the final round of the Stanley Cup 2014. New York City has one of the youngest rosters in the NHL, is rich in talent and positions the Rangers as permanent winners for years to come. However, one of the areas they struggled with last season was low goals.

Enter Gaultier. With 23 – long and strong, with a first-shooter mentality, decent speed and a strong presence in the power play net – he is a convincing candidate for a breakthrough next season and gets a big chance in the New York six in the middle. Despite the uncertainties of the 2020-21 season, Gaultier is preparing as usual: according to the programme drawn up by his father.

When Martin Gaultier introduced his son in high school at the age of 9, they started with two weeks of 40-minute lessons. I showed him how to train slowly, says Senior Gautier, who is now a chiropractor. He took it very well. After that it was a matter of discipline, and he always had enough discipline to keep going.

At school everyone knew the famous family of Julien Gaultier.

The Rougeau brothers are very popular in Quebec, he says. During wrestling there were four [main] channels, such as the weather channel and the wrestling channel, so people always looked at them. Gautier searched the internet for old games and also for the games in which his grandfather took part (who gave up wrestling in 1975 to open the gym).

Although Gautier loved wrestling, he never took an interest in it himself; the same goes for bodybuilding. Hockey has always been his passion, so his father adapted his training accordingly.

I’ve been in training for 40 years, I’m also a chiropractor and I study biomechanics, so it was easy for me to find out what he needed, Martin Gauthier said. Let’s just say you were a dancer. I can put together a program for you in a few hours, based on what you do and what you need.

While Martin Gaultier’s bodybuilding training focused on pumping as much blood as possible into his muscles, he developed programs that enabled his son to use explosives in his movements on skates and on ice, with the addition of heart and maneuverability exercises. He also preached about the importance of smart eating and resting. While his teammates ate chips or sweetened drinks after the games, Martin Gauthier always met his son on the ice with dried fruit and nuts.

Julien Gaultier has signed a contract with CAA Hockey, and agents generally help players find coaches to work with during the off-season. Pat Brisson of the CAA has decided that if Martin Gaultier can train his son, he should continue.

Fault! The file name is not specified. Julien Gaultier succeeded with the Hurricane affiliated AHL club, but did not distinguish herself from the NHL club. Patrick Gorsky/Sportswire icon via Getty Images

Julien Gaultier said he usually rested 10 to 15 days after the season. Moreover, he rarely takes a day off from the gym. I try to do something every day of the season, he said. Even if it’s 15 or 30 minutes.

In Charlotte, it was not uncommon for Coach Gautier to see him cleaning up his energy on a day off alone at the gym. Gautier said his move to New York was easy, partly because his temporary home was attached to the gym. According to his father, Gaultier enjoys fishing in his spare time and dining in good restaurants. According to Gauthier himself, he loves to cook. Probably the biggest shame of his career, when he did not work in Carolina, is that he was never able to train with Rod Breend’Amour, the coach of Keynes, another famous sports rat.

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Gaultier had a little whirlwind on his patch. He played 12 regular season games for the Rangers before the closing, and another three during the season, at random against the Hurricanes. He then returned to his home province of Quebec to prepare for the year 2020-21.

As soon as Quebec was faced with a second round of restrictions due to the VIDOC 19 pandemic, Mr. Gaultier knew that he would not be able to enter the ice rink or the gym to train properly. He therefore made other arrangements before travelling to New York in December. Gautier is currently preparing for the season by renting his own apartment in Sarasota, Florida.

He said he was looking forward to presenting himself to the Rangers after a taste of only 15 games last season. In a homemade scout report, Gautier said I was a big guy who could skate and shoot. I’m very hard on the net, it’s my job. I try to hang in the network as much as possible, break through the network, do exercises, and that’s it.

Although Gautier has not inherited a talent for theatre because members of his family are involved in bodybuilding and wrestling, he is a fascinating player who deserves to be watched. In his youth, Gautier often imitated Alexander Radulov’s Door Signing Ceremony with a club swing. If all goes according to plan, he will focus on Broadway this season.

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