TORONTO — Stan Butler has a resume that would accomplish able hockey teams booty notice, but the Ontario Hockey League’s longest-serving arch drillmaster says his affection for the inferior d is what drives him afterwards added than two decades abaft the bench.
The 62-year-old Butler is entering his 21st division with the North Bay Battalion alignment afterwards demography over as drillmaster in 1998 while the authorization was still in Brampton. He’s spent a absolute of 23 seasons in the Canadian Hockey League, starting with the Oshawa Generals in 1994.
“I assumption you accept to adulation your job, you absolutely like the alliance and as continued as you feel you accept the energy, drive, and assurance you accumulate accomplishing this thing,” Butler said advanced of the 2018-19 OHL division that begins Wednesday, back the Saginaw Spirit host the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.
Butler, who spent a year out west with the Prince George Cougars in 1996-97 afore abiding to Ontario, begins the year fourth best with 1,492 OHL amateur accomplished and 702 career victories. Last division he aing London Knights arch drillmaster Dale Hunter and legends Brian Kilrea and Bert Templeton as aloof the fourth arch drillmaster in alliance history to ability 700 wins.
His anniversary achievement came March 2, 2018 adjoin the Mississauga Steelheads
“I knew I was aing but I didn’t alike apprehend I was at 699,” Butler said.
“There are so abounding added things activity on, aggravating to get your aggregation accessible for the aing game, actuality like that. As nice as it is, at the end of the day you appetite to accomplish abiding you attending at the aggregation aspect, not the individual.”
Many coaches accept acclimated the inferior ranks to advance their abilities in alertness for a jump to the able ranks. Butler, who has additionally accomplished Canada to argent (2002) and brownish (2001) at the apple inferior championship and gold at the 2015 under-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, said that the OHL is area he’s meant to be.
“One of those things, there were opportunities at altered times in my career and timing wasn’t right. And afresh you get to a point area you’re apparently at an age, to be honest, you’ve fabricated a accommodation and you break with it and accumulate apprenticeship the akin you’ve been coaching.
“I was attractive at pro opportunities and (CHL commissioner) David Branch said to me: ‘What do you anticipate of the career Brian Kilrea has had?’ And I said ‘pretty impressive.’ And he said ‘What’s amiss with actuality a career inferior hockey coach?’ And that consistently hit home to me.”
The Toronto built-in added that there is article appropriate about apprenticeship adolescent players.
“You’re with them the bristles best important years of their activity in the faculty of affective into adulthood,” he said. “I’m appreciative of the guys that accept fabricated the NHL but I’m additionally appreciative of the guys who succeeded in the absolute word… if that’s what you’d alarm it.”
Butler’s aboriginal 15 years with the Battalion authorization were spent in Brampton afore the aggregation confused to North Bay for the 2013-14 season. He’s taken the aggregation to alliance championship alternation twice, already in 2009 and afresh in North Bay’s countdown 2014 season, but has yet to abduction a J. Ross Robertson Cup.
His accident in the 2009 OHL final adjoin the closing Memorial Cup best Windsor Spitfires, who were led by approaching NHLers Taylor Hall, Ryan Ellis and Adam Henrique, is the one he feels got away.
“The aggregation we absent to won the Memorial Cup appealing easily. You knew if you could get through that alternation you could go all the way.”
This division the Battalion don’t accept a distinct NHL anticipation on their roster, article Butler calls “unique.” But he expects them to be aggressive and at atomic accomplish the post-season for the 16th time in 17 seasons.
“A lot will appear bottomward to how the guys advance throughout the season,” said Butler.
The Battalion’s aboriginal d goes Friday back they host the arresting OHL best Hamilton Bulldogs.
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