Alumni Corner: Bryan "Butsy" Erickson

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Go Gophers! Butsy Erickson
Go Gophers!
Bryan "Butsy" Erickson is fourth on Minnesota's all-time scoring list with 238 career points.
Go Gophers!
Bryan "Butsy" Erickson played hockey at Minnesota from 1979 to 1983 and finished his career as the Gophers' fourth all-time leading scorer with 238 points in 144 games. Erickson went on to play 351 NHL games as a member of the Washington Capitals, Los Angeles Kings, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Winnipeg Jets before retiring after the 1993-94 season. Erickson talked to about his time at Minnesota as well as what he's doing now: What was your time like at Minnesota and what is your favorite memory from the old Mariucci Arena?

Bryan Erickson: I always felt like it was an honor and still feel that way about playing for the Gophers. I loved the anticipation before games and then the long walk up the stairs and running out on the ice. Band playing, people cheering. It was an awesome experience. Seems like yesterday.

GS: To what extent do you follow Gopher hockey today?

BE: I am still coaching high school hockey here in Roseau, so my winters are filled with that. I follow Gopher hockey in the papers.

GS: How do you think college hockey and the sport of hockey as a whole have changed since your playing days?

BE: I think college hockey has evolved no different then all of hockey. Everybody learns to play tighter defense or they don't play. Our game was more open and involved more mistakes defensively.

GS: Many people know you by your nickname, Butsy. When did you get that nickname and how did you get it?

BE: I got my nickname while still in diapers. Not really sure how. Being the youngest of six kids and growing up in a very small town those types of things stick.

GS: As a Minnesota native, did you feel more pressure wearing the maroon and gold in your college years or playing professionally?

BE: I felt a lot of pressure to perform always. My fear of failure still drives me in my personal life and I am quite sure in hockey it was the reason I always came ready to play. I really enjoyed the challenge. And I really, really enjoyed proving people wrong.

GS: You are ranked in the top five all-time in goals, assists, and points at Minnesota. You are also one of three players to record multiple 75-point seasons. How does it feel to be one of the top players in the history of one of the top programs in the nation?

BE: I enjoyed the heck out of my time at Minnesota. It is an honor that some people remember, but truthfully the most rewarding aspect of my playing days is knowing I honestly gave my best effort. 

GS: What is your favorite hockey memory outside of college?

BE: My first professional game was like reaching the top of a very tall mountain. The journey there was very hard and it was all worth it at that point.

GS: Who was the best player you ever played with and against?

BE: Neal and Aaron Broten. They inspired me to work harder. I played on a line with Mario Lemieux. He was pretty good also.

GS: What have you been doing since you retired from hockey?

BE: I've started and sold a few businesses. I'm raising four boys and I have coached almost every year since I retired from playing in 1994.

GS: You played four years at Minnesota and played alongside a couple fellow Roseau-natives in college. Do you still keep in touch with any of your Gopher teammates?

BE: I see former teammates occasionally. I play golf every week with Aaron Broten. Talk on the phone and visit when in the same area with a few others, but sadly not nearly as much as I would like.

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