Canucks backup-for-a-day Dustin Butler on Jannik Hansen, his favourite goalie and more

Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images

One moment you’re thinking about exams, the next you are on your way to the Saddledome to join an NHL team. Then tv, then radio… Then the blogs called.

Yup, it was a busy 24 hours for Dustin Butler, University of Calgary goaltender and now Canuck-for-one-day. Is cult hero status next?

Canucks Army caught with Dustin by phone, a day after his big NHL moment, back at the books as he stared down his last-ever session of university exams.

CanucksArmy: A decade ago, UBC’s Chris Levesque was a story similar to yours; were you aware of it?

Dustin Butler: Not really, but once everything started happening for me, I saw it on Sportsnet. It’s definitely an exciting thing.

CA: The story in 2003 was that Levesque was off studying in the library and didn’t quite believe at first it really was the Canucks calling, that it was a stunt his teammates were trying to pull. Any worries like that on your part?

Butler: I was pretty confident; there was no doubt in my mind. I’d had a similar situation once before [ed. Butler was called but was unavailable … years ago]. I knew it had happened before though.

CA: Was it weird suiting up for the team that’s a hated rival in Calgary?

Butler: I’ve never really focused on teams, I’m just a fan of my favourite goalies. 

CA: Oh, like who?

Butler: I’ve always been a Roberto Luongo fan, since I was 14. He’s one of my favourite guys. There’s a couple guys who are my age who I follow too. I liked guys like Curtis Joseph and Ed Belfour when I was younger.

CA: What about Luongo makes him a favourite?

Butler: He just makes it all look so easy. That’s the sign of a great goalie, everything is effortless. He’s doing stuff that’s incredible and you barely notice.

CA: Now, you did play a year with Jannik Hansen in Portland; got any funny memories from that season?

Butler: No, not really. What I do remember was my third year in junior he showed up. It was one of those things, every team has two import spots, we’re used to that, but it was surprising to see it go to a guy from Denmark. But then we saw that he could play.

CA: Yes, you don’t hear of Danish hockey very often, do you?

Butler: We didn’t even know they played hockey over there! But you could see had the talent.

Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images

CA: How about your own career, you played five years in the WHL, but then you went straight to Calgary, no time in professional hockey…what was your decision there?

Butler: Obviously the scholarship system with the WHL has impact, you can only play pro for a year if you want to use it. My agent pointed out that I could still play [pro] when I was 25, 26. Hopefully I can play that to my advantage, being an older, more experienced goalie.

CA: Where are you looking at?

Butler: I need to a chat with my agent once school’s all done.

CA: What’s your major?

Butler: Geography

CA: So what have you focused on, GIS, that type of thing?

Butler: A little bit of GIS, I’m hoping to get into a bit of precision agriculture and reclamation from oil sands.

CA: One of the things that came out after the game was the push from the players to get you in for the last minute – what were you thinking when that was happening?

Butler: I was laughing. I thought it would be kind of neat, but being on the bench, you sit there and you all stiffened up…but I’m sure the adrenaline would get me going.

CA: During Levesque’s game there was a moment when Johan Hedberg came flying out and collided with a Penguins player; for a brief moment it looked like he might have to go in. He said he knew that the cameras would be on him so he just started straight ahead and concentrated on chewing his gum. Where you nervous about being on camera at all?

Butler: It crossed my mind that if I did anything goofy, O’Toole and Onrait would show it. I knew they’d be on me if I did anything out of order!

  • acg5151

    The fact that Levesque’s appearance was a *decade* ago (and that a young player in identical circumstances might not have heard of it) makes me feel really old all of a sudden. It feels like it was, I dunno, a season or two ago.