Kill Brothers: Fantin, Butler bond breeds record rivalry


The competitive rivalry between Josh Butler and Jeremy Fantin started long before the men’s volleyball teammates eclipsed Sheridan’s all-time leading scorer marks this year.

“We played against each other at club since we were 16(years-old),” said Butler “We always kind of knew each other, we always kind of battled against each other actually, and then we came to Sheridan and both actually just kind of challenged each other and it’s been like that ever since.”

Jeremy Fanitn

Jeremy Fantin in action for the Bruins (Ryan Kelly/ Sheridan Bruins) 

Fantin, from Mississauga – in his second program at Sheridan (Agricultural Technology and Business Administration Marketing) – insists that even though their relationship got off to a rocky start all those years ago, the pair has formed a strong bond on and off the court.

“It’s definitely grown to be best friends on and off the court,” he said. “Growing up in high school, we didn’t like each other, but we knew each other because we played on different teams. So we had that little feud between us.”

In January, Butler, a London, Ont. native, in the General Arts and Science program, broke the school record previously set at 837 points, and Fantin overtook him two weeks later. Not to be outdone, Butler recaptured the top spot Saturday afternoon in a 3-1 victory over the Redeemer Royals.

However, Butler contends that he’s happy regardless of who ultimately ends up with the record because of the bond the two players share.

“He’s like a brother to me, so we’re both really happy to see each other succeed more than just one of us succeed,” said Butler, adding that they joke around about it once in a while.



Josh Butler

Josh Butler with some hang time for the Sheridan Bruins

This weekend’s win was crucial for the Bruins, coming off back-to-back losses and with playoffs beginning at the end of February.

“It is a big stress relief,” said Fantin. “I was getting a little worried as we’re going into playoffs, but now that we’re getting wins back under our belt, it’s just lifted the pressure off or me and Josh, and the team is playing as a team again.”

The “Dynamic Duo” stands 6-foot-4, and while each fourth-year player naturally assumes a leadership role on the team, they do so in different ways. While Fantin is the captain, both agree he’s the more soft-spoken of the two and prefers to let his play on the court do the talking. While Butler is the vocal leader on the team, he’s also the presence that the opposing team worries about most.

“Josh is definitely the beast on the court,” said Fantin. “He’s the big man that we always can go to. He’s just the strong man of our team. He’s like the big, dominant, scary guy, pretty much. He’s the intimidation factor on the court for us.”

“I would say I’m a lot more verbal,” said Butler. “I’m the guy that kind of pumps up the team and stuff like that, but he just shows up every day ready to play. He’s the captain, but he doesn’t need to do too much talking. He leads by just playing his hardest, and showing the guys what it’s like to be a leader.”

Bruins head coach Dave McAllister recruited both players in his second year on the job. While he is obviously proud of what his two star players have done on the court in their record-setting careers, he is equally glowing when it comes to their academic careers.

“All the people on my coaching staff are teachers, so we’re really proud that all our guys are doing well in school,” said McAllister. “Especially those two fourth-year guys. They lead by example. I think that’s tough to do. When you think how many hours we’re in the gym, and how many hours we’re on the bus travelling, and how many hours for school, those guys do a pretty good job.”

Both players have one year of eligibility remaining to play volleyball, and while Fantin is committed to returning for a final year at Sheridan, Butler is still very much on the fence, pondering a return to his hometown after graduation instead.

“It’s tough to say,” said Butler. “If that were to happen and I wasn’t going to come back, I know that would be a big thing for me to let up. I love the sport and I love my team. The connection that me and Jeremy have had these last four years is pretty special, so you always hate to see those things fade away.”

“It’s definitely going to be a weird experience,” said Fantin. “It’s going to be a little sad not seeing him there, you know, I’m definitely going to miss him a lot, but we’ll definitely be able to figure stuff out on the court. Hopefully get him to come out to our game when we play in London, that’d be a good morale boost for our team, to see him there.”