Jake Rutt discovered at a young age the impact a coach could have. A newcomer to Scarborough High in his sophomore year after his family moved from Augusta, his high school hockey coaches helped make the transition easier.

“I didn’t know a whole lot of people. I didn’t know anyone outside of hockey,” said Rutt, 27. “My high school coaches, they made a huge impact on my life. And I kind of feel I want to do the same thing.”

And now Rutt, a former four-year defenseman at the University of Maine and professional hockey player, will have that opportunity. Rutt will be the boys’ hockey head coach at Cape Elizabeth High next winter pending school board approval. He takes over for Matt Buotte, who left to become the coach at Central Maine Community College.

Cape made the playoffs in each of Buotte’s six years, going 15-3-2 last winter and losing to Greely in the Class B South finals.

“I’m eager for it,” said Rutt. “When things like this happen, like when you sign your first pro contract, you want to get going right away. … I’m definitely looking forward to November.”

And the Capers are looking forward to having him.

“We’re really excited,” said Athletic Director Jeff Thoreck. “It’s a big hire. I think he’ll be a fantastic addition. His leadership is impeccable and he just has a lot of positive energy. We were impressed with his presence and his philosophy.”

Thoreck said Rutt met with several players as part of the interview and they were immediately taken by him. “He has a passion,” said Thoreck. “That’s what you feel when you speak to him. And he wants to carry that over to teaching on the ice.”

Biddeford Coach Jason Tremblay played a role in the hiring. Tremblay formerly coached at Cape Elizabeth and mentored Rutt the last two years while Rutt was a volunteer assistant for the Tigers, who lost in the Class A state final last winter. Tremblay called Thoreck when he heard Buotte was leaving and told him that he had a “can’t-miss” contender.

“I was at Cape at a similar age. It’s a great place to coach,” said Tremblay, who is also the girls’ lacrosse coach at Massabesic. “It’s a big hit for them and a big hit for him, too. It’s just a good match.”

Rutt, who earned a degree in business management at UMaine and now works for Enterprise, coached the defensemen for Biddeford while also breaking down video of the Tigers’ next opponent.

“He loves the high school game,” said Tremblay. “One of the big things is that he listens, communicates well and relates to the kids.”

Rutt played his freshman year of high school at St. Dominic, then moved to Scarborough for two years. He left after his junior year to play for the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs. After two years there, he joined the Black Bears, where he played in 120 games with nine goals and 23 assists over four seasons.

He joined the Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL after his senior season and played there in the 2015-16 season. Then he retired, returning for a two-game series in 2016-17 when the Steelheads were short defensemen for a weekend series.

“I decided to settle down, get married that summer,” said Rutt. “I decided to stay home and kind of grow a family.”

He and his wife, Danielle, have an 8-month-old son, Henry. He said he took his game as far as he could.

“I got a four-year college degree for a reason and I wanted to put that to work,” said Rutt. “No regrets. I gave it an honest try. Obviously I still love the game, which is why I’m coaching.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

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