DENVER (CBS4) – Denver Pioneers captain Will Butcher could come home from Chicago with two trophies — a national title and the Hobie Baker. But right now, Butcher is in a rare position — the senior is done for good with his classes.
“I haven’t had a time where I’ve just been playing hockey, I’ve always been in school at the same time,” said Butcher as he sat in a chair in the DU players’ lounge.
Butcher is done with all of his academic requirements, meaning as the Pioneers get set to head to the Frozen Four, he has one thing on his mind — hockey.
“You just wake up and go to practice,” said Butcher of his new schedule.
The rest of his teammates were on spring break last week, so Butcher won’t fully experience the good life until Monday when they return to class, and he does not.
“It doesn’t feel too different right now, but maybe next week it will,” he said on Tuesday. “I’ll be just be sitting there having a cup of coffee in the morning watching NHL Network.”
Butcher’s schedule isn’t the only reason why life is good. He also has the Pioneers eyeing a national title.
After beating Penn State 6-3 in the regional finals on Sunday, Denver is heading to the Frozen Four for a second straight season, and will face Notre Dame on April 6 in Chicago.
“It’s the year for sure,” said Butcher prior to the Pioneer’s regional semifinal match up with Michigan Tech, a game they won 5-2.
Whether or not Butcher and the Pioneers win the national title he’s already had a season to remember.
He was named the NCHC Player of the Year and Offensive Defensive Player of the Year earlier this month, and is one of 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, the Heisman Trophy of college hockey.
Butcher knows the end of the season will bring about a new, uncertain, beginning.
He was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in 2013, but has yet to sign with the team, meaning he could become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
“A bunch of people have been asking me, ‘What’s the inside scoop?’” said Butcher. “They (the Avs) are letting me do my thing here. It’s a big deal to play for a national championship, and I respect them for not getting in the way of that. They’re letting me do my thing right now and when the season is over we’ll figure everything out then, and I respect them for that.”
Butcher may end up playing in the NHL one day, but for now, his only focus is on April 6, and keeping his college hockey career alive for one more game.