By Dakota Antelman, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – Bobby Butler skated over to a hockey bench late last month where his father and former Marlborough High School (MHS) hockey coach John Butler stood.
This was not Marlborough, however, and the Butlers were not talking about high school hockey.
Butler was practicing with his minor league team, the Milwaukee Admirals. And he was about to tell his father he had just been named to the U.S. Olympic Mens’ Hockey team, which will play in PyeongChang, South Korea, Feb. 14-25.
The video of Butler celebrating with his father has been viewed more than 900,000 times and the Milwaukee Admirals, who shot the video, have been approached by numerous media outlets asking to publish it.
“It’s something that you really think about when you’re little but never really think will happen,” Butler said. “I just feel very lucky and honored to be given the opportunity that I have.”
Butler played forward for the MHS hockey team, leading his team to a state championship in 2004 while also playing for the Jr. Bruins in his junior and senior seasons.
After graduation, Butler played Division I hockey for the University of New Hampshire.
He then played for four different NHL teams, a Swedish team, and a Russian team as a professional. He returned to the U.S. for this season with the Admirals, an affiliate of the NHL’s Nashville Predators.
Despite playing for a dozen teams around the world since he left Marlborough, however, Butler still recalls his hockey memories playing for his father in high school most fondly.
“It was just something special getting to play for your dad,” he said. “He’s the one who opened a lot of doors for me, got me playing in the right places and kind of shaped the person I am and the hockey player I became.”
John Butler, who coached all of his sons through their high school careers, feels similarly about the experience.
“It made my relationship stronger with all of my children,” he said. “We spent more time together, I saw how hard they worked, I saw their work ethic and they understood where I was coming from.”
The scene last month was similar to many of those that John and Bobby relish from Bobby’s high school days. Bobby on the ice, and his dad behind the bench, the two hugged as a teammate captured the moment on video.
“I knew he is kind of a big teddy bear, so I knew he would get emotional,” Butler said. “I just figured I would have him come to the practice and catch him by surprise.”
Having announced his Olympic trip, Butler is now looking forward to next month’s games while thanking his hometown and family for the support they’ve given him throughout his hockey career.
“There’s a lot of people I could thank and I’d say the majority of them are from Marlborough and the Marlborough area,” he said. “I call Marlborough home and I’m just very thankful for all the support from everyone.”
To see the video of Butler telling his father about his spot on the Olympic team, go to twitter.com/mkeadmirals/status/947955959472820224.