MARLBOROUGH – Marlborough hockey star and former Olympian Bobby Butler was back on the ice over the weekend with the Worcester Railers, making his debut in a Railers uniform in his first professional game since 2019.
Butler’s sudden return to professional hockey came due to ongoing player shortages prompted by COVID-19, the Worcester Telegram reported on Sunday.
Butler racked up three points on a goal and two assists in what was a 5-3 win for the Railers on Jan. 2 against the Reading Royals.
Butler relishes Marlborough roots
Butler grew up in Marlborough as the son of iconic Marlborough High School hockey coach John Butler.
Playing with his father as his coach, Butler dominated as a member of the Panthers boys hockey program in the early 2000s.
He was part of the 2004 – 2005 Marlborough High School team that ultimately won a state championship, all while also spending time playing for the Boston Junior Bruins.
Butler went on to build a career first in college hockey and later in professional leagues, spending time in the NHL and the AHL as well as the SHL in Sweden and the KHL, where he played for a Croatian team.
Butler made the US Men’s Olympic Ice Hockey squad in 2018, traveling to PyeongChang, South Korea where he scored three goals.
For Butler, though, all this success has long traced back to hockey mornings in Marlborough and his father’s coaching.
“It was just something special getting to play for your dad,” he told the Community Advocate back in 2018. “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.”
COVID-19 player shortages prompt Butler’s pro-return
Butler last skated professionally in the 2018-2019 season as a member of the AHL’s Hartford Wolfpack.
His hockey career has continued, though as he’s organized youth camps and clinics. He was the director of the Junior Bruins before taking a job in the Railers organization as the director of operations for their Junior Railers program in August of 2019. He is also an assistant coach of the Holy Cross men’s ice hockey team.