OUR NETWORK

What they are saying.

WALT KYLE

NHL / AHL / NCAA Coach

Consultant, Newport Sports (The Hockey Agency)

"I have known Mike for over 20 years and have worked with him on many occasions, primarily while as Head Coach of Northern Michigan University. Mike has been involved with Global Sports Camps for over 20 years and organizes the NCAA Coaching Seminars I have spoken at. 

 

I also had many dealings with Mike at the NHL level when he was with Tampa Bay. Mike visited NMU on numerous occasions while scouting college players for his club. His knowledge base of the college player is deep and his relationships with college coaches is extensive. He represented his organization with the upmost professionalism and class. Further, he went the extra mile to insure he had resourced the information he needed on a player.

 

Since transitioning from NMU to Newport Sports, I have maintained a solid relationship with Mike. He has offered us information on players and his knowledge base on what we are looking for is accurate. He is a top notch negotiator and has assisted me numerous times in this arena.

 

In closing, I wish to offer my personal thoughts on the matter. In all of my dealings with Mike, I have found him to be professional, knowledgeable and thorough in all of my dealings with him. He is organized and simply gets things done. He is personable and makes people feel important in all conversations I’ve had with him. I strongly feel that Mike’s skill set, personality and character, set him apart from many in the hockey world. His combination of hockey management skills and business effectiveness, make him a prime candidate for this position.

 

I consider him a friend and colleague in hockey and he would be a tremendous asset for you."

 

STEVE CROMIE

IL Hockey Hall of Fame

College, Pro Coach/Player, Hockey Father

Mike Butters know’s hockey! It is that simple. He has been involved in the game of hockey in virtually every level and every capacity. In the professional ranks he has been a player, scout, coach and GM and likely everything in between. He has also been as a commissioner of many junior leagues. He has also coached at all levels, including pro, juniors and internationally. The experience that Mike has acquired over the years in hockey is unprecedented. He has the knowledge of all the Junior and College leagues around the country and the coaches, recruiters, scouts and general managers all know him well. More importantly, the respect him.

 

Mike has created the opportunities to start players on their path to attain their goals, getting the best education and playing hockey at the highest level possible. The list of players he has helped move to the higher levels of the game is in the hundreds. What puts Mike at the top of many people’s list, including mine, is his honesty, character and effort. All are unmatched in the world of hockey. From the standpoint of starting an opportunity with a player and their family to cultivating into a positive journey towards goal achievement, Mike always sees that through to the end. 

 

I will close by saying this: The highest compliment you can give a person in hockey world, is entrusting him to coach and mentor your son or daughter. That said, I would want my son to be coached and mentored by Mike Butters.

 

BARRY MELROSE

ESPN Hockey Analyst

NHL / AHL Head Coach, Player

"This letter is sent in support of Mike Butters. I have known Mike since 1992 when he played for me in the American Hockey League. We have stayed friends ever since.

Mike is a hockey man. He has done every job you could possibly do in the running of a team. He has coached, he has played, he has managed a team and he has owned a team. I’m sure he also ran a rink somewhere down the road. I bought a team in the United Hockey League and Mike helped me find a player when no one else could.

If you hire Mike you will always be proud of him. He will always be prepared for any problem that your league might face. He has faced all these problems in his previous jobs so he will be ready.

This is a good man. He is loyal and honest. He is a great family man and will be the hardest worker in your whole organization of people in your network. Mike will make your sure you a better player and person as he helps find a place for young men and women to go to. I am a product of the SJHL, like Mike, so I know it well.

Mike is the man for the job. You will never find the combination of character, honesty, work ethic, experience and passion for hockey that Mike Butters brings to the job. He is your man."

 

ROY HENDERSON

GLOBAL SPORTS CEO/FOUNDER

BCHL Owner, NHL Amateur Scout

"In trying to sum up the best way to give you the best idea of how Mike is as a person and how he is likely the most qualified person to run a hockey advisory business, I find it difficult to be brief. I say this as Mike has accomplished so much in his life in many different facets.

I first got to know Mike as I scouted him as a player to play in the WHL while I was with the Philadelphia Flyers. Mike was a fearless hard-nosed player with skill who was the captain of his Tier 2 junior team. Those characteristics somewhat sum up his adult life. After his pro playing days were done, he took a job in the WCHL as a Coach/GM. It was there Mike learned how to manage a hockey team, a staff, players and all the dynamics that go with it. He was essentially a one-man band who was given no direction from ownership other than to make the team money and win. I spent countless hours listening to Mike during these days as he developed everything that goes into operating a team successfully. In addition, he had to mentor a young coach (Keith Gretzky) and the players at the same time. Despite being the smallest market team, Mike's team led all 3 in attendance, sales and sponsorships. While Mike will likely not admit to it, he virtually did this on his own.

 

I recruited Mike to come help me with the Global Sports Camps. In the 26 years Mike has worked with us at Global, he has performed every function involved with this business. He has coached teams, ran practices, and lectured at seminars. He has been a key piece of our business for the past 26 years. The NCAA, USHL, BCHL coaches we bring in rave about their experience with us and Mike is a key part of that. 

 

Mike has also coached and managed a Tier 2 team (NAHL) and rink, which he held for over 12 years. His teams were continually successful on and off the ice and he was the face of that franchise for 12 years. He was a commissioner for a fledgling Jr. B league at the time as well. He took an unsuccessful, third rate junior league and in 4 short years his team won a national championship. More importantly, his efforts were the reason so many of those players were elevated to the BCHL, where I currently own a team.

Mike was recognized for his efforts and got hired by an NHL team to manage and set up their developmental system. The work he did while in Tampa Bay helped take a 30th place NHL team to the Stanley Cup Finals 4 years later and a 30th place AHL team to a Calder Cup Championship 4 years after he was with the organization. While Mike was one of many quality people to assist in this, he was one of the few people who were still with the team from those humble beginnings, which should illustrate his worth.

That is the best way to sum up my 30 plus year relationship with Mike. He simply doesn’t leave until the job gets done. I seriously hope you see the value in this exceptional man and have him work with assisting you in your hockey needs. His integrity and passion for helping others is what sets him apart."

 

JEFF BRUBAKER

PLAYERS CAPITAL GROUP CEO / FOUNDER

NHL Player, Pro Coach, GM, Owner

"With his creation of Hockey Horizons, Mike Butters will be at the forefront of player advisement as he has both done almost everything in the game of hockey at all levels and succeeded at it.

As a player, he was a fierce competitor who never accepted anything but the best of himself and his teammates. As a coach, he spent countless hours going over every detail to provide his players with the best possible opportunities in their development, training and skill set. His successes both with winning championships and elevating players is testament to his hard work and perseverance. As a GM and Owner/Operator, he knew how to assess talent and find the right players to build his programs into dynasties.

I am confident in saying he knows a great deal about every facet of the game. His track record of training, coaching, mentoring and elevating players is exemplary and his ability to mentor young players to give them the life skills to advance them in both life and hockey is inspiring.

Mike is an honest man who will provide anyone he works with his integrity, passion, conviction and character. He is also a business savvy professional with a knack for success.

It would be a shame for anyone not to take his advice and mentorship as I have benefitted myself from it on many occasions."

 
 

GERRY O'FLAHERTY

NHL PROFESSIONAL SCOUT

NHL Player, NHL Amateur Scout

Let this letter serve as my personal endorsement for Mike Butters.

Mike and I worked together for several years in the Tampa Bay Lightning organization. I am currently a professional scout Mike initially came in as the General Manager of our AHL team in Norfolk, VA. In the time I worked with Mike as the Norfolk GM, I came to learn a lot about him and his character. Mike inherited the task of developing our minor league system. He was tasked with setting up our AHL and ECHL affiliates and managed all of the free agent signings to fill the remainder of our rosters with non-NHL contracted players. Mike was very proactive in his task as he was in constant communication with the pro scouting staff on a daily basis to gather all of the best data possible to assemble these teams. In addition, he was responsible for setting up the agreements with each of these independent team owners.

 

He is a very organized, success oriented person who worked tirelessly throughout the time he was there. In his first year there, we suffered an abnormally high number of injuries and transactions. Mike was instrumental in insuring we had capable players to filled the voids left to injury. That season we had 28

different defencemen in our NHL uniform and 22 in our AHL uniform. Mike managed to make that happen through his problem solving, deal making abilities and his many relationships in the business.

 

When Mike transitioned into pro scouting, I was tasked with training him. Even some of the most experienced hockey people take approximately 3 years to understand the position and succeed at it. Mike was a quick study and his learning curve was far less. He was offering valuable, unique data to our GM and was influential in many of the signings we had during that time. During his time in Tampa, he worked under 4 different General Managers and all had very positive things to say about his character and knowledge. The thing I can share with you is that when Mike called me to ask for a letter of endorsement for this position, my exact words to him were “I would be honored. This is perfect for you.” I say this as I have known Mike since 2008 and consider him a knowledgeable hockey man capable of about anything he put his mind to. He is driven to succeed in whatever he does. I thoroughly

enjoy speaking with him, whenever time permits. In closing, I feel very confident in endorsing Mike." 

STEVE NELSON

NCAA ATHLETIC DIRECTOR EMERITUS

UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-SUPERIOR

"Please accept this personal endorsement and recommendation for Mr. Mike Butters.  I first came to know Mike while Commissioner of the America West Hockey League. Mike inquired into purchasing a team. What initially stood out to me about Mike was thorough and diligent pre-planning in the process. He took a team that was averaging less than 300 spectators per game and increased that number to an average of over 1100 in his first season, including several sell outs. That venue holds approximately 1500 seats. I was impressed with Mike’s extraordinary ability to make sound business decisions on his market. Further, his team advertising sales numbers increased  immediately.

During my time in the AWHL, I requested the services of Mike to serve on many committees at the league level to which he graciously accepted. Moreover, He quickly learned what his market needed and maximized his strength there. Many of Mike's ideas were used by other league members as we moved forward.

When the AWHL absorbed the NAHL, Mike was a key and valuable negotiator on behalf of the owners in that transition. He spearheaded the deal to assist another league in trouble while maintaining the integrity and financial strength of the AWHL in transition. While serving as Co-Commissioner of the new NAHL, Mike was selected to the Executive Committee and remained there his entire tenure. When I returned to UW Superior, I figured that I would lose contact with the league as we had both moved on. I was right, save one exception, Mike Butters. We both cherish this relationship today.

I know Mike was a member of the USA Hockey Junior Council for over a decade while he was Commissioner of both the NorPac and AWHL as I regularly stayed in contact with the Executive at USA Hockey. Mike was selected by his peers (Commissioners) to be one of only 2 members to represent Tier III. Continuing, Mike’s name came up in several conversations with high level USA Hockey officials. In each instance, they spoke to the quality of Mike’s character and abilities in that position.

In closing, I having known Mike for the past 17 years. In that time I have had nothing but positive experiences with him. His ability to achieve common goals is exemplary. His management skills are high level and he does it all with a style that makes everyone feel important and involved in the process. He knows the game, but, more importantly, he knows the business of the game. Without a doubt, he will make you proud. I recommend him with absolutely no reservations."

 

KEVIN MILLER

CEO, KEVIN MILLER FINANCIAL SERVICES

NHL/NCAA PLAYER

"It's my absolute pleasure to recommend Mike Butters. I have known Mike for 15 years as part of the USA Hockey Jr. Council. We worked together for many years on the council to make junior hockey better at all levels.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time working with Mike, and came to know him as a truly valuable asset to absolutely to any team. Mike is honest, dependable and incredibly hard working. Mike always showed up to meetings well prepared and with a great attitude. Mike was a total team member who always gave his honest opinion and backed it up with thorough due diligence.

Mike and I have stayed in touch following our time on the junior council and still have in depth conversations on all aspects of hockey. His passion for the sport to make the game the best sport in the world is outstanding. Mike is a very honest, hard working person who has a passion and love for hockey that is unmatched.

Along with Mike's undeniable hard work, he has always been an absolute joy to work with. He is a true leader, and always manages to foster positive discussions and bring the best out of other members. One thing that may set him apart from anyone else is his ability to lead a group through crisis. I witnessed this several times on the Junior Council.

Without a doubt, I highly recommend Mike. As a dedicated, hard working gentleman and all-round great person. I know that he will be a beneficial addition. He is well liked around the USA Hockey circles. More importantly, he is well respected."

 

PAT CAVANAUGH

Jr. A Owner/Rink Owner

Professional Player / Junior Coach

I have spent my life in hockey, as a player, coach, as a multiple rink owner, Youth organization operator

and Junior hockey team owner. While I have other businesses and endeavors, hockey is my passion. Mike Butters has shared the same passion for many years originating back with us as minor pro opponents. His commitment to the game is comprehensive, a full incorporation of its history and inner workings. While there are many who give back to the game of Hockey, Mike separates himself through his forward-thinking ability and a “can do” approach to challenges and solutions.

Mike is a realist. I’ve consulted with him on rink deals, team purchases and player assessments. His analysis of each situation is detailed and his recommendations are sound. In each of these discussions, what impressed me the most was Mike’s ability to identify the fringe business items that become critical when evaluating a hockey business opportunity.

After years apart, Mike and I had the opportunity to engage more when he took over as GM of the Norfolk Admirals. I own a rink and a Junior team in Chesapeake, VA, minutes away from Norfolk. Prior to Mike’s arrival, I discussed existing challenges and also some relationship strains which negatively impacted the AHL team in Norfolk. Within days of his arrival, we sat down and he laid out a joint effort of support. Mike sent pro players to work with my junior and youth players; he arranged meetings with his coaches to meet with ours to discuss ideas. He even had my junior coach serve his AHL team as “Coaching Assistant.” He had him attend on ice AHL practices, a move that help this coach in his career and further deepened our business relationship. Those personalized items paved the way to significant good will, relationship  strength and a willingness of community support which benefitted all who were involved, ticket sales and corporate revenue.

Mike has relationships at every level from Juniors to the NCAA to the NHL. I often speak with my hockey

peers who also share the respect and acknowledgement of Mike’s contributions to the game over the

years. In closing, I make this recommendation with conviction as I strongly feel you have a great

opportunity to associate with a quality person.

 

TOM KURVERS

Asst. GM Minnesota Wild

NHL/NCAA Player, NHL GM, Head Scout, D.P.P.

Hobey Baker Award Winner

I had the pleasure of working with Mike when he was brought in to the Tampa Bay Lightning organization. I arrived shortly after Mike in Tampa via the Phoenix Coyotes organization. While it was Mike’s first job in the NHL, he immediately made a positive impact. He was very proactive in assembling our minor league system, both in the AHL and ECHL. He worked with our scouting staff to assemble rosters for both of these teams as well as some of our NHL contracted players. He was the lead person for the organization in signing our AHL talent and negotiated with NHL player agents to do so.

 

Throughout his time in Norfolk, he also negotiated player trades and worked with several NHL and AHL General Managers and player agents in the process. With an operational shift that occurred, Mike was encouraged by myself to transition his time in pro scouting. He eagerly accepted this opportunity and was very professional in his dealings. His learning curve for the position was brief and he became one of our sound assessors of NHL and minor league talent and his input was valuable in our groups decisions with regard to trades and signings. In addition, he detailed written reports and organizational skills were a true asset to our scouting group. He went above and beyond in creating spreadsheets to better organize our workflow.

 

I knew Mike had been a league commissioner in junior hockey and knew of success, both with the team he owned and the league he ran. My acquaintances at USA Hockey spoke very highly of him whenever his name was raised in conversation. He is considered one of the bright minds in hockey with both owners and management. Mike is a very personable guy and many of my colleagues in the NHL has often brought up his name offering stories or sharing positive experiences they’ve had with him in their

dealings with him. He is well respected and well liked. It is for these reasons I can confidently recommend Mike for this position.

 

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