The love of the Chaminade hockey program brought NHL veterans Chris Butler, Ben Bishop and Chris Wideman back to their old high school stomping grounds.
The three, along with Paul and Yan Stastny, had their numbers retired Tuesday [Aug. 7] as Chaminade celebrated 50 years of its hockey program.In addition, Tom McCoy and Walter Finke were announced as members of the Chaminade Hockey Hall of Fame’s inaugural class.
The ceremony was held in the Skip Viragh Center for the Arts.
Butler, Bishop and Wideman were in attendance while the Stastny brothers were unable to attend.
“Getting three of the five is a pretty good batting average,” said Matt Hrubes, who played for and then coached the Red Devils for 16 years, beginning in 1996, before stepping down. He now serves as the president of the hockey board. “Hockey is very important to this school. Over 1,000 young men have played in this program.”
Future Red Devils will no longer be able to wear four numbers.
Yan Stastny, class of 2001, and Paul Stastny, class of 2004, both wore No. 26.
Butler, class of 2005, wore No. 4. Bishop, class of 2005, wore No. 32. Wideman, class of 2008, wore No. 9.
“These are all good people we are honoring,” Hrubes said.
Butler is currently playing with the San Antonio Rampage in the American Hockey League while under contract to the St. Louis Blues.
“This is pretty cool,” he said about getting his number retired. “Growing up, I wanted to play hockey. I didn’t feel like an upper echelon player. Playing in the NHL was a pipe dream. I was 120 pounds in high school.
“I was a prototypical late bloomer. I thought if I could just get my schooling paid for, that would be great. I love the game. I chased the dream. I have a lot of good memories. We never won a championship, but I feel like we paved the way for a lot of good players to come through Chaminade.”
Butler played two seasons at Chaminade, during which the Red Devils made the Frozen Four both years. After his sophomore season, Butler played with the Sioux City Musketeers in the USHL.
He was selected by the Buffalo Sabres as the 96th overall pick in the 2005 draft. He committed to play hockey at the University of Denver.
Butler left Denver following his junior season and played parts of three years with the Sabres. He played two years with Calgary before signing with the Blues.
Bishop played three seasons with the Red Devils before moving to Frisco, Texas, to play for the Texas Tornado of the NAHL. He earned a scholarship to play for the Maine Black Bears and helped lead them to back-to-back NCAA Frozen Four appearances.
Bishop turned pro in 2008 with the Blues, who drafted him in 2005. St. Louis dealt him to Ottawa in 2011. Tampa Bay acquired him in 2013 and reached the Stanley Cup in 2015.
Bishop is signed now with Dallas.
“I didn’t think I’d play in the NHL,” Bishop said. “I just played for fun. One thing led to another and I got where I am today.”
Wideman played three seasons at Chaminade. He competed in the state championship game as a junior.
He is the only Chaminade player to receive a Division I scholarship while playing for the Red Devils. Wideman played at Miami of Ohio.
After his freshman season, he was drafted by Ottawa in the fourth round. After finishing college, he signed with Ottawa and was called up in 2015. He has been with the Senators since then.
Wideman said, “I’d like to recognize my favorite teammate of all time, my brother Alex Wideman. I will always cherish the time we played together, especially at Chaminade. Even nights like the state finals when we lost 11-0 to CBC and the afternoon when you beat me up as a freshman in practice in front of the entire team. I’ll never forget those two moments.”
Paul Stastny sent a statement that Hrubes read.
“I am proud to say I am a Red Devil,” Stastny wrote. “In my four years at Chaminade, I made countless memories and lifelong friends. Being a part of this incredible hockey program paved the way for my continued success in my hockey career, and for that, I am incredibly thankful. To say that my brother and I are humbled by the retirement of No. 26 would be an understatement. The history behind that number is so important to our family and we were proud to wear that number for Chaminade.”
Stastny has signed a new contract and will play for the Las Vegas Golden Knights.
Yan Stastny is currently an unrestricted free agent.
After the ceremony, a panel discussion hosted by broadcaster Andy Strickland brought out good responses from the players that pleased the crowd. Joining the panel discussion were Connor Dunlop [class of 1999] and Neil Komadoski [class of 2000]. Both Dunlop and Komadoski went on to play at Notre Dame before beginning their professional hockey careers.All proceeds for this event will go toward securing Chaminade hockey’s future home rink.
The ice rinks will be with the Affton Hockey Association or the Chesterfield Hockey Association.
“We have great opportunities with both and will see what makes the most sense for the Chaminade hockey families,” Hrubes said. “It was a great night and shows how much the Chaminade community respects the hockey program and these fine young men we celebrated. They have left a legacy behind that will always be remembered. We are very grateful that we were able to celebrate their achievements on the program’s 50th anniversary.”