Championships galore for Winnipegger in short career

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 12:19 PM ET

Jason Botterill was able to accomplish so much in a short period of time.

Just imagine what he might have done if his career hadn't ended prematurely because of post-concussion syndrome.

Botterill, a 29-year-old Winnipegger, is the first and only player to win three consecutive gold medals for Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championship.

In college, Botterill helped the Michigan Wolverines capture the NCAA men's hockey championship, and as a pro Botterill played a key role in helping the Saint John Flames win the Calder Cup in 2001.

Botterill suited up for Team Canada at the AHL All-Star Classic in Grand Rapids, Mich., in 2003 and had five goals and 14 points in 88 NHL games with the Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames, Atlanta Thrashers and Dallas Stars.

What will he remember most?

"There are so many things," said Botterill. "The two things that will probably stand out the most are my first world junior title (1993 in Sweden) because growing up with my father and being with the Olympic program, I realized at an early age how much of an honour it was to wear the Maple Leaf. That year I was 17 years old. Guys like Paul Kariya and Rob Niedermayer were already in the NHL, so we weren't expected to win. Winning the gold medal got things going for my international career. I just felt so much pride wearing the Maple Leaf."

And the second?

"Winning an NCAA title in 1996 at Michigan," said Botterill, chosen 20th overall by the Stars in the 1994 NHL entry draft. "We hadn't won an NCAA title since 1954 and we were finally able to get over the hump.

"It's one thing to win a medal for your country. It's another to spend a whole year and some of the guys at Michigan I played with for three years leading up to it. You go through the whole disappointment thing and then win it. That's something we'll all treasure."


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