Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Bill Butters
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.

REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1970-71 University of Minnesota WCHA 27 0 1 1 52
1971-72 University of Minnesota WCHA 29 1 9 10 100
1972-73 University of Minnesota WCHA 33 3 6 9 110
1973-74 Oklahoma City Blazers CHL 71 7 18 25 174 10 2 4 6 37
1974-75 Oklahoma City Blazers CHL 32 5 9 14 192
1974-75 Minnesota Fighting Saints WHA 24 2 2 4 58 12 1 0 1 21
1975-76 Minnesota Fighting Saints WHA 59 0 15 15 170
1975-76 Houston Aeros WHA 14 0 4 4 18 17 0 3 3 51
1976-77 Minnesota Fighting Saints WHA 42 0 7 7 133
1976-77 Edmonton Oilers WHA 7 0 2 2 17
1976-77 New England Whalers WHA 26 1 8 9 65 5 0 1 1 15
1977-78 New England Whalers WHA 45 1 13 14 69
1977-78 Minnesota North Stars NHL 23 1 0 1 30 -3
1978-79 Minnesota North Stars NHL 49 0 4 4 47 -12
1978-79 Oklahoma City Stars CHL 14 1 2 3 31
1979-80 Oklahoma City Stars CHL 73 3 8 11 134
NHL Totals 72 1 4 5 77


Signed as a free agent by Toronto, September 27, 1973. Rights traded to Minnesota (WHA) by Toronto for cash, February, 1975. Signed as a free agent by Toronto (WHA) after Minnesota (WHA) franchise folded, February 27, 1976. Traded to Houston (WHA) by Toronto (WHA) for Paul Crowley and future considerations, February 27, 1976. Claimed by Birmingham (WHA) from Houston (WHA) in 1976 WHA Intra-League Draft, June, 1976. Traded to Minnesota (WHA) by Birmingham (WHA) for cash, September, 1976. Traded to Edmonton (WHA) by Minnesota (WHA) with Mike Antonovich, Jean-Louis Levasseur, Dave Keon, Jack Carlson, Steve Carlson and John McKenzie for cash, January, 1977. Traded to New England (WHA) by Edmonton (WHA) with Mike Antonovich for Brett Callighen and Ron Busniuk, February, 1977. Signed as a free agent by Minnesota after clearing WHA waivers, February 16, 1978.