Battalion coach Butler has seen it all

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:33 PM ET

Stan Butler has seen plenty in 1,000 games from behind an Ontario Hockey League bench.

But one aspect stands out for the director of hockey operations and head coach of the Brampton Battalion.

“There has been a huge evolution at the league level,” said Butler, who on Thursday night became the fourth man to reach the significant milestone in the OHL.

“In my first year, I taught (high school) half-time. No one went to the rink before noon. Now, it is a mini NHL, and the budgets are probably three times what they were.

“Every new facility has a weight room now. Back then, for us, we were going up stairs and doing circuits.”

Butler, 55, started his OHL coaching career in 1994-95 with the Oshawa Generals (and he recalled his first game, a 6-0 loss in Ottawa) and has been the only coach the Battalion, which entered the OHL in 1998-99, has had. Only Brian Kilrea (2,156 games coached), Bert Templeton (1,735) and Larry Mavety (1,514) have coached more games in the OHL.

Butler’s career record prior to the Battalion’s game on Thursday night, against the visiting Generals, was 460-474-65. Before the match, Butler was presented with a Milestone Award by OHL commissioner David Branch.

During the 1996-97 season, Butler coached the Prince George Cougars of the Western Hockey League.

The most dominant player Butler has coached?

“Marc Savard in Oshawa,” Butler said without hesitation. “He was only 17 and won the scoring title (with 139 points in 1994-95) and would have won the next year had he not been injured.

“To be in a group with men such as Brian Kilrea, Bert Templeton and Larry Mavety, it really is an honour.”

terry.koshan@sunmedia.ca

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