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Where are they now: Garth Butcher

by Andy Radia / Vancouver Canucks

For almost 10 seasons, from 1982-1991, Garth Butcher patrolled the Canucks’ blue line as the team’s resident enforcer.

At 6’0, and 200 pounds, he wasn’t the biggest guy in the league but became a fan favourite for standing up for his teammates and fearlessly taking on the league’s heavyweights.

In 1991, he, along with Dan Quinn, was traded to the St. Louis Blues for Cliff Ronning, Sergio Momesso, Geoff Courtnall, and Robert Dirk. Butcher later went on to captain the Blues before winding down his career with short stints in Quebec and Toronto.

Now, 16 years removed from his days in the NHL, Garth Butcher has traded in his hockey mitts for oven mitts, so to speak.

The Regina native and father of five, is now a successful restaurateur having ownership interest in two restaurant/bars in Mississauga, an Italian restaurant in Mississauga, and a liquor store and pub in Kamloops called the Westsyde Pump.

From his home in Bellingham Washington, Butcher takes care of the restaurants’ funding and leasing arrangements and oversees the businesses’ financial operations.

“I’ve got partners and employees that run the front-end of the business. I have always enjoyed the numbers and enjoyed doing the deals,” he said adding his group is always on the lookout for new business opportunities.

In addition to the restaurants, Butcher owns several rental properties in Bellingham and Kelowna and is a partner of a mortgage fund based out of Langley.

Butcher says his business success is partly due to an opportunity he took advantage of while still playing in the NHL.

In the 1980’s, unlike earlier eras, you’d be hard pressed to find another professional hockey player who took a summer job. But Butcher, took an offseason job as a salesman for Jim Pattison Toyota, in Surrey, thinking it would it would be a good opportunity to learn some new skills.

“I went into the dealership [to buy a car] and the general manager called me the next day and said I want to you to come and see me. I went in and he told me that I had beaten him up so bad on that deal and wanted me to join them,” Butcher claims.

“I never really saw it as odd. I kind of saw it as having time off and being able to learn about a new business. I didn’t make a heck of a lot of money doing it but learned a little bit about business and dealing with people.”

It seems that Garth Butcher’s summer job has paid off.

“We’ve been doing [the restaurant business] since 1995 and we’ve been successful in growing the business,” he said.

“We have a really good thing going.”

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