Alex Tuch has gotten plenty of advice over the years. His coaches dish it out regularly. His dad, who Tuch calls one of his best friends, is there too.
When the Boston College sophomore needs to handle his nerves or to talk with one of his teammates, however, there is also former teammate Adam Gilmour.
"We’ve been linemates in the past, but we’re really good friends," Tuch said of Gilmour, a fourth round Minnesota Wild draft pick in 2012, with the Boston College teammates both in Tampa Bay for the 2016 Frozen Four. "He’s one of my best friends on the team, and fun to be around."
Tuch and Gilmour first met not on Boston College’s Chestnut Hill campus, but at Wild prospect development camp in 2014. Knowing Tuch, the Wild’s first round selection (18th overall) that year, would be a freshman heading to BC to play for Head Coach Jerry York, the rising sophomore Gilmour introduced himself to the Baldwinsville, NY native.
Since then, their friendship has only grown.
The two said they have become very close. Both Wild prospects spent most of 2014-15 playing on the same line together. Gilmour was at center with Tuch on his right wing, finishing second and first on the team in scoring, respectively.
"We’re different players, but we complement each other very well," said Gilmour, who signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the Wild on Monday. "He’s more of a power forward with a great shot and I like to pass first so it works out with him going down the wing."
Their chemistry together extends away from the rink. Both players are together regularly despite being a year apart in school and two in age.
"We just hang out. I’ll go over to their room a lot," said Tuch. "(We’ll) go to lunch or something."
This season the two played on a line together for 20 games. The rest of the time saw Gilmour, who finished his junior year with 12 goals and 26 points in 41 games, trying a new position.
"I moved to wing this year so it’s really the first season I’ve played as a winger for a while," Gilmour said. "Getting in the shot lane and going out to the D in the zone, blocking shots and playing better defensively is a lot better for me. I’m trying to play more physical too so that translates to the pro game."
Tuch, meanwhile, started his sophomore season, slow recovering from a knee injury he sustained over the summer before turning things around and finishing with 18 goals and 34 points.
His coach saw a noticeable change during the second half.
"Right around the New Year, (Alex) decided to come on strong and the last month, two months, he’s just been outstanding for us," said York. "He’s not circling. He’s playing through people. He’s a very strong, powerful forward for us and one of the reasons we’re here."
The 19 year-old was working hard and having more fun. Understanding his identity as a player, Tuch was able use his size more to get around defensemen. The sophomore twice scored in the Northeast Regional win over Harvard, and had a stretch where he had with points in 15 of 17 games, including the overtime winner in the Beanpot championship.
While Tuch was admittedly nervous about his first Frozen Four, he said talking with upperclassmen like Gilmour that had the same experience helped.
"My freshman year I wanted to look up to the older guys: Kevin Hayes, Bill Arnold, and Johnny (Gaudreau),” said Gilmour. "As I have gotten older my role on the team has grown. I’m not really a vocal person in the locker room or anything like that.
"I like to let my actions on the ice speak for themselves."
Nerves calmed, and Tuch did the same, scoring BC’s opening goal Thursday against Quinnipiac in the Frozen Four semifinal. His goal cut the Eagles' deficit to 2-1, but that was as close as Boston College would get, as it lost in the championship game to the Bobcats, 3-2.
Both with aspirations of having professional careers — Tuch's still in the planning phases, and Gilmour's just beginning — to have one another, both Minnesota Wild prospects, at Boston College, has helped them in many different arenas.
“I think on the ice it has been huge, but also off the ice as a person representing something bigger, representing a legacy,” Tuch said. “I think I’ve really taken a step towards where I want to be as a player and hopefully for the Wild someday.”