Bill Butcher purchased and renovated Windsor Arenas in 1946. At the time, it was Canada’s only privately owned arena. Founder of the Windsor Bulldogs and Windsor Rockets, he also coached and played basketball for the Windsor Alumni.
Butcher moved to Windsor at the age of seven. Here, he starred in basketball at Walkerville Collegiate. Out of high school, Butcher attended the University of Detroit for three years, where he played with the legendary Lloyd Brazil, before assuming the captaincy of the Windsor Alumni Senior Men’s Team.
Butcher started at centre on several Windsor Alumni teams, winning the Ontario Championship in 1927, ’28, ’29, ’30, ’32, and ’33. In 1928, Butcher’s Alumni were crowned Canadian Senior Champions, defeating the University of British Columbia in front of 4,000 fans at Windsor Arena. The victory was the first nationally sanctioned Canadian Championship by a Windsor team in any sport.
The Alumni were Canadian finalists on three occasions during Butcher’s time with the club. The Alumni lost to the Winnipeg Toilers in 1927, the New Westminster Adanacs in ’29, and the Victoria Blue Ribbons in ’33.
Following his playing career, Butcher went on to coach the Alumni. In 1939, under his guidance, the team won the Ontario and Eastern Canadian titles before falling to the Victoria Dominoes in the Canadian Finals. The following season, 1939-40, Butcher’s again claimed the Ontario title but lost in the Eastern Canadian semifinals.
Outside of basketball, Butcher became the first president of the Ontario Rugby Football Union’s Windsor Rockets in 1946. That same year, he purchased Windsor Arena, home at the time to the wildly popular Spitfires. He oversaw numerous renovations to the facility to accommodate the club’s entry into the OHA Junior “A” League. Years later, in 1953, Butcher founded the Windsor Bulldogs Senior OHA hockey club.
Bill Butcher passed away on June 2, 1994.