Tuesday, May 19, 2015

1997-98 Michigan K-Wings Jason Botterill Jersey

Jason Botterill's hockey career got off to a successful start beginning with the 1993-94 season, as the University of Michigan Wolverines freshman scored 20 goals and 39 points in 36 games. During that season he also won a gold medal at the World Junior Tournament playing for his native Canada. Following the season Botterill was drafted 20th overall in the first round of the 1994 NHL Entry Draft by the Dallas Stars.

During his second season with Michigan, Botterill won another gold medal at the World Juniors before his memorable 1995-96 season. He completed his World Junior hat trick with a third gold medal in January, making him the only Canadian to ever win a gold medal in three straight World Juniors.

 photo Botterill three WJC golds.jpg
Botterill remains the only Canadian to win
three gold medals at the World Junior Tournament

He completed his NCAA season with 32 goals and 57 points in 37 games, while adding 143 penalty minutes, as Michigan defeated the Colorado College Tigers 3-2 in overtime to win the NCAA national title to complete a championship double in the space of three months.

 photo Michigan 1996 NCAA champions.jpg
Botterill's magic 1996 season ended with an NCAA championship

He returned for his senior season with the Wolverines as a team captain and had his finest season with the maize and blue with NCAA career highs with 37 goals and 61 points in 42 games.

For the 1997-98 season, Botterill was assigned to the Michigan K-Wings of the International Hockey League where he played in 50 games that season. He also made his NHL debut with the Stars with appearances in 4 games.

 photo Botterill Stars.jpg
Botterill made his NHL debut with Dallas

While Botterill scored 38 points in 56 games for the K_Wings in 1998-99, he went scoreless in 17 games with Dallas, who traded him to the Atlanta Thrashers in the offseason. He played 25 games for Atlanta that season, which included scoring his first NHL goal. He would play an additional 17 games with the Orlando Solar Bears of the IHL before a trade in February of 2000 sent him to the Calgary Flames organization.

Botterill Thrashers photo Botterill Thrashers.jpg
Botterill scored his first NHL goal with Atlanta

He played a pair of games with the Flames but spent the majority of the rest of the season with the Saint John Flames of the American Hockey League.

Botterill, born on this date in 1976, spent the entire 2000-01 season with Saint John, scoring 33 points in 60 games before adding an additional 9 points in 19 playoff games as the Flames would win the Calder Cup as champions of the IHL.

Saint John Flames 2001 Calder Cup photo Saint John Flames 2001 Calder Cup.jpg
The Saint John Flames celebrate their 2001 Calder Cup championship

He would captain Saint John for the 2001-02, scoring 42 points evenly divided between goals and assists in 71 games. Botterill also made four appearances for Calgary in the NHL, where he would score his second goal in the NHL.

Thanks to his fine season with Saint John, Botterill was signed by the Buffalo Sabres for 2002-03, who assigned him to the Rochester Americans of the AHL, which led to his finest season as a professional as he scored 37 goals and 59 points, good for second on the team in 64 games. He also found time to play 17 games with the Sabres. tallying a goal and 5 points.

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Botterill causing havoc while with the Americans

The 2003-04 season was more of the same, as he split his time between Rochester (46 games) and Buffalo, where he played a career high 19 NHL games, scoring twice. Rochester then made a deep playoff run, defeating Syracuse and Hamilton before losing to Milwaukee in the conference finals.

Botterill Sabres photo Botterill Sabres.jpg
Botterill played a career high 18 games with Buffalo in 2003-04

Botterill would start  the 2004-05 season with the Americans, but 8 games into the season he would suffer a career ending concussion. His final totals from the NHL were He remained active in hockey, first working for the NHL and now currently an Associate General Manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Today's featured jersey is a 1997-98 Michigan K-Wings Jason Botterill jersey as worn during Botterill's first season as a professional. The club was founded in 1974 as the Kalamazoo Wings with the colors of red and white to reflect their affiliation with the cross-state Detroit Red Wings. When the club changed it's affiliation to the Minnesota North Stars in 1988, they adopted the North Stars colors of green, gold and black. Their affiliation with the organization remained intact after the NHL franchise relocated to Dallas for the 1992-93 season. After two additional seasons, the club changed it's named to the Michigan K-Wings. The instability of the IHL and the Stars ending their relationship with the club led to franchise requesting inactive status for 2000-01 before folding for good when the IHL itself imploded.

 photo Michigan K-Wings 1997-98 F jersey.jpg
Michigan K-Wings 1997-98 jersey photo Michigan K-Wings 1997-98 B jersey.jpg

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1999-00 Atlanta Thrashers Jason Botterill jersey. The Thrashers wore this style from their debut in 1999-00 through the change to Reebok Edge jerseys for 2007-08, seven seasons in all, not counting the lost season of 2004-05.

Rather than create a reverse of their white home jersey, the Thrashers got around NHL rules that dictated they not be allowed to have an alternate jersey until their fourth season in the league by choosing to feature their secondary shoulder logo as the primary logo on their dark "road" jersey from the start of their first season, essentially wearing a "home" and an "alternate" as their first set of jerseys.

Sharp eyed readers will notice this jersey lacks the NHL 2000 patch worn during the Thrashers debut season, but on closer inspection the stitching where the patch was located is still evident.

Botterill wore this jersey when he scored the first NHL goal of his career, which came on the road on January 4, 2000 against his future club the Buffalo Sabres.

Atlanta Thrashers 1999-00 jersey photo Atlanta Thrashers 1999-00 F jersey.jpg
Atlanta Thrashers 1999-00 jersey photo Atlanta Thrashers 1999-00 B jersey.jpg

In today's video section, Penguins associate general manager Botterill talks to the media after the conclusion of the 2014 NHL draft.

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