Top

Will Borgen's life threatening journey to becoming a top Sabres prospect


Will Borgen was a surprise by many to crack the USA World Junior team, as he was one of the lowest drafted players on the team. As a 4th round pick of the Sabres, not many in Buffalo thought of Borgen when thinking of Sabres prospects in the World Juniors. With an injury to Vaclav Karabacek before the tournament, Borgen actually ended up being the only Sabres prospect to play in the World Juniors. 

While still in high school, Borgen almost had his hockey career and his life cut short following a terrifying neck injury. While playing a game in the spring of 2015, Borgen found himself on his knees during a scrum on the ice. Another player on the ice skates by Borgen, when a skate must have come up and cut him in the throat. Not even realizing how bad he's really been cut, Borgen skates over to the bench and tells his coach he may have been cut. 

WARNING THE PHOTO BELOW THE FOLLOWING QUOTE IS GRAPHIC

“(Coach) said it was the most disgusting thing he’s ever seen,” Ammerman said. “He said it looked like a really rare steak was cut into, but on somebody’s neck. It was just pooling blood. He’s the reason we have the high neck guards this season.”
“I like hockey a lot,” Borgen said. “A skate to the neck? I can still play. It’s not that bad.” said Borgen

Borgen says that he never had trouble breathing, and wasn't in much pain. He said "it wasn't bad". His former high school coach now requires that all players on the team wear neck guards. Seeing how deep a cut it was, had the skate made contact inches in the other direction, Borgen could no longer be with us. 

Just a few months later Borgen was drafted 92nd overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2015 NHL Draft. When drafted he was still playing in high school and the Omaha Lancers of the USHL. Generally players out of high school are drafted in the lower rounds, and take time to develop. Borgen is developing exceptionally well early on in his college hockey career. He plays for St. Cloud State, and has 9 points in 18 games. In college Borgen is actually in a slump, going pointless in 6 straight games. 

Following his hot start to his college career, Borgen was invited to the USA World Junor training camp as an underdog to make the team. He outperformed many at camp, and not only made the team, but earned a spot on the second pairing with Louie Belpedio from the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Borgen could not have made a better impression on Sabres fans at the tournament. Over the course of 7 games he had 3 assists, and was a go to defender for the USA in key situations. His 6 foot 2 height, helped him become a physical force in the tournament as well. His play throughout the World Juniors caused him to get some attention even from the national media.

Borgen is dabbed as an two way, athletic, right handed defenseman. If he turns out to be where he's progressing towards, he could make a great pair with fellow 2015 draftee Brendan Guhle. Being that Borgen is only a freshman in college, he's probably at least 3 or 4 years from competing for a regular spot on the Sabres. But hey, he's surprised us once, don't put it past him to do it again. 

Load