So synonymous is the nickname Butch with the name Goring that we actually had to look up Goring's first name in the history books to write this biography on Robert Thomas Goring.
When a player is nicknamed "Butch" usually he is known for three things: Incredible hustle; unmatchable work ethic; and high penalty minute totals. Goring earned the nickname Butch because of his hustle and work ethic, but he was the epitome of clean textbook hockey. In fact, Goring, the 1978 Lady Byng winner, only accumulated 102 career penalty minutes in 1107 NHL games!
Born in St. Boniface Manitoba, Goring had a great junior career split between a number of teams. He split his junior eligibility with the Winnipeg Rangers (Manitoba Junior League), Hull Volants (Quebec Senior League), Winnipeg Jets (West Coast Junior League), the Dauphin Kings (Manitoba Junior League) and the Regina Pats (Saskatchewan Junior League). It was in his junior days where he garnered much attention from NHL scouts for his work ethic and clean style of play. In a total of 4 seasons of junior hockey, Goring took only 3 minor penalties.
Los Angeles took the chance on the 5'9" 170lb Goring with their 51st overall pick in the 1969 Amateur Draft. After splitting his first two pro seasons in Los Angeles and in Springfield with the King's AHL farm team. Goring made the Kings full time in 1971-72 when he scored his first of 11 consecutive 20+ goal seasons. Included in that streak were 4 consecutive 30 goal seasons.
1978 proved to be Goring's 15 minutes of fame. Goring's work ethic and clean play were rewarded with the Lady Byng and the Bill Masterton Memorial trophies. He scored a career high 37 goals and added 36 assists while taking only one minor penalty all season. Four times in his career Goring took only one minor penalty in a full NHL campaign.
Players in Los Angeles during the 1970s received little or no attention from fans around the league, just ask the illustrious Marcel Dionne, and Goring was no exception. But NHL insiders knew just how great this player was. One of those who thought highly of him was New York Islanders boss Bill Torrey. Torrey sent two players (Billy Harris and Dave Lewis) to Los Angles for Goring at the trading deadline in 1980. Goring was one of the key veterans who are credited for taking a young and talented Islanders team and finally pushing them over the edge to become Stanley Cup Champions. Goring scored 7 goals and 19 points in 21 playoff games to help lead the Isle's to their 1st Stanley Cup.
Playing behind the offensive dynamo likes of Trottier and Bossy, Butch Goring's scoring exploits slowed down as he stayed with the Islanders, but his work ethic never did. He was rewarded for his hard work by being an integral part of one of the NHL's greatest dynasties. Goring earned a total of 4 Stanley Cup rings. He was also honored as the Conn Smythe Trophy winner in 1981 as the MVP of the playoffs.
As the Islander's dynasty finally tailed off in 1985, and as Goring neared the end of his career, the Islanders left Goring on waivers, allowing the Boston Bruins to pick up the feisty center. Goring only played 39 games with Boston before retiring, but would become their head coach for the 1985-86 season. Goring's bench-boss tenure was short lived as he was fired early into the 1986-87 season.
Goring, who used the same two uniquely homemade leather helmets since the age of 11, scored 375 goals, 513 assists and 888 points in 1107 career NHL games. He became a long time professional coach following his playing days.