Defenseman Bill Butters knew he wanted to play professional hockey, but also recognized the value of an education. He enrolled at the University of Minnesota and continued to play hockey for the school's NCAA Division One team. After a highly successful academic and hockey career with the Golden Gophers, Butters turned pro at the age of 22 in 1973, signing with the Oklahoma City Blazers of the CHL. During his rookie season he played in 71 games, scoring seven goals and 25 points while racking up 174 penalty minutes in the league known for its toughness.
Butters began the following year back in Oklahoma City, but signed a contract with the WHA's Minnesota Fighting Saints, appearing in 24 games, scoring twice and collecting four points. He played in 59 games with the Saints during the 1975-76 season, before being traded to the Houston Aeros for the last 14 games of the season.
In 1976-77, Butters returned to his home state, signing with the Fighting Saints as a free agent, but once again he was shipped off, this time to the Edmonton Oilers. However, Butters barely had time to get to know his new teammates, before being dealt after just seven games to the New England Whalers. He remained with them until midway through the 1977-78 season, when he jumped to the NHL and signed a contract with the Minnesota North Stars, where he dressed for 23 games.
Butters returned to the North Stars in 1978-79, suiting up for 49 games. In total, he played 72 NHL games, all with the North Stars, scoring one goal and five points. He played one more year of pro hockey in 1979-80 with the Oklahoma City Stars of the CHL, ending his pro career in the city where it began seven years earlier.
Butters has the unique distinction of being linked to a couple of cult classic movie icons, having twice been involved in WHA trades along with Jack and Steve Carlson, who played two of the three Hanson Brothers, in the 1977 film classic Slap Shot.
Nowadays Butters spends his time as one of the major contributors to the CAHA, the Christian Athletes Hockey Camps, along with Laurie Boschman, another former NHL player. The camps are run throughout Canada, the United States and Europe for children between the ages of ten and 17.