Amerks’ Botterill retires

Rochester Americans left wing Jason Botterill announced his retirement from hockey today at the Amerks’ practice facility at the ESL Sports Centre. The veteran forward has missed the past 49 games due to a concussion he suffered in late October.

Botterill, 28, was in his eighth season of professional hockey and spent the last three seasons in the Buffalo Sabres organization. The majority of that time was in Rochester, where he collected 59 goals and 41 assists in 118 games. With the Sabres, he registered three goals and five assists in 36 games.

This season, he played in eight games and recorded six goals and two assists. His last game was on October 31 against the Syracuse Crunch. He was named one of the Amerks’ alternate captains at the beginning of the 2004-05 season.

Over his career, Botterill played in 481 games as a professional, 88 of those in the National Hockey League with teams in Dallas, Atlanta, Calgary and Buffalo. He notched 132 goals and 139 assists for 271 points in his career, which spanned the NHL, AHL and International Hockey League. He made stops in Michigan (IHL), Saint John (AHL) and Rochester, and won a Calder Cup championship with the Flames in 2001. Botterill represented the Amerks at the 2003 AHL All-Star Classic.

The Edmonton native was originally drafted by the Dallas Stars in the first round (20th overall) of the 1994 NHL Entry Draft. He played four seasons (1993-1997) of college hockey at the University of Michigan before turning pro. In 1996, he was a member of the Wolverines’ NCAA Championship team.

The winning tradition continued as he won three gold medals for Team Canada in the World Junior Championships. He broke into pro hockey in 1997-98 with Michigan and played four games with the Dallas Stars. Botterill would spend one more season with the Stars, before signing with the Calgary Flames in 1999.

The last three seasons have been in Rochester, as he signed with Buffalo in 2002-03. That season, he set career highs in goals (37), assists (22) and points (59). He also played in 17 games with the Sabres.

Last season, the rugged forward spent a career-best 19 games in the NHL and registered three points (2g, 1a). In Rochester, he recorded 16 goals and 17 assists in 46 regular season games. In the Calder Cup Playoffs, he had 15 points (5+10) in 16 games as Rochester advanced to the Western Conference Finals.