Butch Goring

Last updated

Butch Goring
Goring with the New York Islanders in the 1980s
Born (1949-10-22) October 22, 1949 (age 71)
Saint Boniface, Manitoba, Canada
Height 5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Weight 165 lb (75 kg; 11 st 11 lb)
Position Centre
Shot Left
Played for Los Angeles Kings
New York Islanders
Boston Bruins
National teamFlag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada
NHL Draft 51st overall, 1969
Los Angeles Kings
Playing career 19691987

Robert Thomas "Butch" Goring [1] (born October 22, 1949) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey player. He played 16 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Los Angeles Kings, New York Islanders and Boston Bruins. He is a four-time Stanley Cup winner with the Islanders. Since retiring as a player he has served as head coach of both the Bruins and Islanders. He currently serves as the Islanders' television color commentator on MSG Network alongside Islanders play-by-play announcer Brendan Burke.


Playing career

After finishing his junior career with the Dauphin Kings of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL), Goring was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the fifth round (51st overall) of the 1969 NHL Entry Draft. He played parts of two seasons for the Kings in 1970 and 1971, bouncing back and forth between Los Angeles and their American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Springfield Kings. He had a very successful season in Springfield in 1971, leading the league in playoff goals, assists and points in helping his team (along with future Hall of Fame goaltender and future Islanders' teammate Billy Smith) win the Calder Cup championship.

The next season Goring was promoted for good to the NHL, and starred for nine seasons for the Los Angeles Kings, developing into one of the most complete players in the league. In the 1975–76 playoff quarterfinal series against the Boston Bruins, Goring scored the overtime game-winning goal in game 2 and game 6. He won both the Bill Masterton Trophy and the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy in 1978, becoming the first player to win both trophies the same year. [2] Prior to the 1978–79 season he was offered a five-year, $1-million contract by the World Hockey Association's Edmonton Oilers; [1] Goring re-signed with the Kings after they countered with an offer of $1.25-million over the same term. [3]

In the 1980 season, Goring was traded in March to the New York Islanders in exchange for Billy Harris and Dave Lewis, and was widely regarded as being the "final piece of the puzzle". [4] [5] That season, he scored 19 points in 21 playoff games to help the Islanders to the first of four consecutive Stanley Cups. The next season (1980–81), he improved upon his previous playoff run, scoring 10 goals and 10 assists in 20 playoff games, and was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff most valuable player, as the Islanders won their second Cup. [2] Goring played 78 games and did not receive a single penalty, but did not win the Lady Byng Trophy that year. [6]

Goring's final NHL season was 1985. After his release by the Islanders, he played effectively for half a season with the Boston Bruins, before retiring and becoming the Bruins' head coach for a season and a half. After he was fired as the Bruins' coach in 1987, he played briefly for the Nova Scotia Oilers of the AHL before retiring for good.

Goring retired having played 1107 games, with 375 goals and 513 assists for 888 points. He recorded only 102 penalty minutes, the lowest total in NHL history for a player appearing in more than a thousand games.[ citation needed ] He was a very effective penalty-killer throughout his career as he finished in the top ten for short-handed goals nine seasons in his career amassing a career total of 40 short-handed goals, the fifth most of all-time.


Goring was most recognizable on the ice for the Sven Tumba-endorsed Spaps brand helmet that he had worn since childhood and continued to wear throughout his entire professional career. [7] He also developed a reputation for perhaps the poorest fashion sense in the league. In the 1970s, on a road trip with the Kings, a burglar broke into his hotel room and stole everything that belonged to his roommate but left all of Goring's clothes hanging in the closet untouched. [1] [7] [8]

Former Islanders' teammate Mike Bossy stated on a 2010 episode of Off the Record with Michael Landsberg that Goring is quite likely the originator of the NHL's tradition of growing a beard in the Stanley Cup playoffs, commonly called a "playoff beard". [9] Other former Islanders, including Dave Lewis and Clark Gillies, point to the tradition starting in the mid-1970s, before Goring's time with the team, [10] although Goring certainly participated in the tradition once he joined the Islanders. [11]

Goring's No. 91 was retired by the Islanders on February 29, 2020, ahead of a game against the Boston Bruins. [12]

Career statistics

Regular season and playoffs

   Regular season   Playoffs
Season TeamLeagueGP G A Pts PIM GPGAPtsPIM
1965–66 Winnipeg Rangers MJHL 3000030110
1966–67 Winnipeg RangersMJHL51353166282680
1967–68Hull NationalsQue-Sr.401641574
1967–68 Winnipeg Jets MJHL12130
1967–68 St. Boniface Mohawks AC 1256112
1968–69 Winnipeg Jets WCHL 394233750
1968–69 Dauphin Kings MC 1288165
1968–69 Regina Pats MC22350
1969–70 Los Angeles Kings NHL 591323368
1969–70 Springfield Kings AHL 19137200
1970–71 Los Angeles KingsNHL192572
1970–71 Springfield KingsAHL402332554121114250
1971–72 Los Angeles KingsNHL742129502
1972–73 Los Angeles KingsNHL672831592
1973–74 Los Angeles KingsNHL70283361250110
1974–75 Los Angeles KingsNHL60273360630000
1975–76 Los Angeles KingsNHL80334073892354
1976–77 Los Angeles KingsNHL783055856975120
1977–78 Los Angeles KingsNHL80373673220002
1978–79 Los Angeles KingsNHL803651871620000
1979–80 Los Angeles KingsNHL6920486812
1979–80 New York Islanders NHL126511221712192
1980–81 New York IslandersNHL782337600181010206
1981–82 New York IslandersNHL671517321019651112
1982–83 New York IslandersNHL7519203982048124
1983–84 New York IslandersNHL712224468211562
1984–85 New York IslandersNHL292572
1984–85 Boston Bruins NHL39132134651120
1986–87 Nova Scotia Oilers AHL103582
NHL totals110737551388810213438508832


YearTeamEvent GPGAPtsPIM
1981 Canada CC 73254

Coaching career

Goring served two stints as an NHL head coach. He coached the Bruins in the 1985–86 season and the early part of the following campaign; he also coached the New York Islanders in the 1999–2000 season and most of the following season – he was fired by the Islanders on March 4, 2001. He also served as the head coach for several minor league teams, including the Capital District Islanders, Las Vegas Thunder, Denver Grizzlies, Utah Grizzlies, and Anchorage Aces, winning two championships. In 2002–2003 he took over the Krefeld Penguins of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga and led them to their first championship since 1952. In 2004–2005, he was the coach of the DEG Metro Stars hockey team in Germany.

Coaching record

TeamYearRegular seasonPostseason
BOS 1985–86 80373112863rd in Adams 03.000Lost in Division Semifinals
BOS 1986–87 13571(11)(fired)
NYI 1999–2000 82244891585th in Atlantic Missed playoffs
NYI 2000–01 65174053(52)(fired)
Total24083126274  03.0001 playoff appearance

Career achievements

See also

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  1. 1 2 3 legendsofhockey.net profile of Butch Goring
  2. 1 2 "Honoured Members Database - Butch Goring". honouredmembers.sportmanitoba.ca. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  3. Mole, Rich (2006). Edmonton Oilers: Against All Odds. Heritage House Publishing Co. p. 32. ISBN   978-1-55439-227-8 . Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  4. Fischler, Stan (February 22, 2019). "Maven's Memories: The Butch Goring Trade". NHL.com. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  5. Kreiser, John (March 9, 2020). "March 10: Goring traded to Islanders". NHL.com. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  6. Ippolito, Casey (April 27, 2014). "Top 5: Most gentlemanly Lady Byng winners". TheHockeyNews. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  7. 1 2 Vecsey, George (January 3, 1981). "Sports of The Times; Venerable Helmet". The New York Times. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  8. Baker, Chris (October 22, 1985). "Butch Goring: 'Seed' of Kings Finds His New Job Suits Him". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  9. Perry, Thomas (July 14, 2017). "Rock tee up Goring". Timmins Daily Press. Archived from the original on July 14, 2017. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  10. McGourty, John (October 25, 2009). "Devils resumed Islanders' playoff beard tradition". NHL.com. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  11. Caldwell, Dave (May 24, 2017). "The legend and twisted origin of playoff beards". ESPN.com. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  12. "Tonelli and Goring 'Honored' and 'Humbled' by Number Retirement". NHL.com. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  13. "Lengths of Hockey Players' Careers Through the Ages". Sentex.net. Retrieved October 1, 2012.
Preceded by
Marcel Dionne
Winner of the Lady Byng Trophy
Succeeded by
Bob MacMillan
Preceded by
Ed Westfall
Winner of the Bill Masterton Trophy
Succeeded by
Serge Savard
Preceded by
Bryan Trottier
Winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy
Succeeded by
Mike Bossy
Preceded by
Harry Sinden
Head coach of the Boston Bruins
Succeeded by
Terry O'Reilly
Preceded by
Bill Stewart
Head coach of the New York Islanders
Succeeded by
Lorne Henning