BRAMPTON, Ont. – Stan Butler has signed a new four-year contract as director of hockey operations and head coach of the Brampton Battalion, the Ontario Hockey League club announced Monday.
The contract, which runs through the 2012-13 season, takes effect Sept. 1 upon the expiration of Butler’s current four-year deal.
Butler, who joined the Battalion in the same capacity a year before its inaugural 1998-99 season, guided the Troops to their first Eastern Conference title in 2008-09. The team advanced to the best-of-seven OHL Championship Series, bowing out in five games to the Windsor Spitfires, eventual Memorial Cup titlists.
“As a coach you usually feel you’ll spend three or four years with a team and then move on,” said Butler, 53. “But this is just one of those things that has developed into a great partnership. I’ve enjoyed working for the Battalion and for Scott Abbott.
“We’ve made some progress, and I think we’ve built one of the top organizations in the OHL. But it’s a very good league, and we know we have to work extremely hard to stay there.”
Battalion owner Abbott said he was pleased to have Butler returning.
“Stan has been integral to the evolution and success of the Battalion since its inception. I believe the organization rightly is highly regarded by players, parents and other OHL clubs. All of that is primarily because of Stan’s tireless efforts.
“He has helped establish a culture in which on-ice success is tied to academic achievement, all while leading the OHL in player development for the next level.”
With Brian Kilrea having retired as head coach of the Ottawa 67’s, Butler now is the longest-tenured OHL coach. The Toronto resident has a won-lost-tied record of 344-352-52 in 748 games with the Battalion, which has won the Central Division crown four times, including three times in the last four seasons.
“People want to know that the coach their son is going to come into the OHL with is the one he’s going to finish with, and that’s one thing successful major junior programs have,” said Butler. “There’s that stability from the top down with the Battalion.”
Butler started his OHL coaching career in 1994-95 with the Oshawa Generals, producing a record of 70-49-13 over two seasons before joining the Prince George Cougars of the Western Hockey League for the 1996-97 campaign.
With 880 OHL games on his record, tops among active coaches, Butler has a log of 414-401-65. His wins total, ninth-highest in league history, is second among active coaches to the 441 achieved by George Burnett of the Belleville Bulls. Butler has a career OHL playoff record of 42-55.
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)